After watching the movie Gorky Park, I decided to read the book. I am so glad I did! It introduced me to the dark and deep character of Arkady Renko. I then read the next two Arkady Renko novels - Polar Star and Red Square. Of these two, I think Polar Star is the better, mainly because it takes you into the bowels of a Russian fishing boat and creates a wonderful world of action and intrigue there. Red Square, set in Moscow and Germany, is very good, but Gorky Park and Polar Star were tough acts to follow. I was a little reluctant to start book four (of eight) in the Arkady Renko series. I think its setting in Havana rather than Russia was a little of a put off for me. I travel to Russia regularly (since 1994) and love the accurate depictions of Russian culture and life that I found in the Martin Cruz Smith novels. However, I am so glad I didn't skip this book in the series, as I was tempted to do. While it reveals nothing radically new about the character of Renko, Smith once...
Shortly after returning from a photography shoot in Cuba, I was told of this book and author. Only a few pages into the book, i realized I was reliving each step of mu jaunt. The descriptions of the situations and locales are right on. The story is not something I can speak of in the same way, as I was not aware of all that was going on at the time of the Russian's support and sudden leaving of Cuba. I only have a general knowledge. I would suppose, Martin Cruz Smith is fully immersed, just from his depiction of Cuba itself. If you cannot visit Cuba, take the time to read this book and take in what is still in place, just as it was at the time depicted in the novel. Quite amazed, and happy I followed my friends advice and bought the book.
I love all of Martin Cruz Smith's books, but especially enjoyed this one. Between the descriptions of beautiful old run down buildings, American cars from the 50's, and delving a little into santaria, I felt like I was in Cuba. I'm never disappointed in his Arkady Renko books and Smith makes me feel as if Renko is someone I know and like. I'm rationing these books right now because I'm afraid I'll devour them too fast and I'll be so disappointed when I've finished them all and don't have the next one to look forward to.
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