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Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
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Gorky Park (original 1981; edition 1982)

by Martin Cruz Smith

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,683492,211 (3.88)2 / 155
Member:TheFlamingoReads
Title:Gorky Park
Authors:Martin Cruz Smith
Info:Ballantine Books (1982), Edition: 1st Printing, Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:Mystery, Fiction, Russia

Work details

Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith (1981)

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English (45)  Dutch (3)  French (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
I so wanted to enjoy this book and had been looking forward to reading it! However to put it bluntly I just didn't enjoy this book and it was a great struggle to finish the book. It was lacking pace and enough interaction between the key characters, and got totally mired down in heavy description and often about things that were superfluous to the plot. I also didn't really find one character I bought into or liked, in fact I found the book quite depressive. That however is just my opinion of the book, that doesn't mean others won't enjoy it. Other reviews show that some other readers have a much more positive view of the book.
I certainly don't intend to continue with the series as there are many other better books out there. ( )
  Andrew-theQM | Jun 20, 2016 |
Arkady Renko, a police investigator in Soviet Russia, is called to Gorky Park where three mutilated bodies have been found buried in the snow. This begins an investigation that will threaten his entire future. He's being followed by the KGB who seemed very interested in the case but don't want to be responsible for it. While trying to identify the bodies he meets a mysterious American who is involved in the fur trading business. Everyone seems to have a hidden agenda, including Renko's wife, closest friend,and his superiors at work. Renko makes a series of deductions that place him in serious jeopardy.

I found the mystery to be very confusing, slow paced, and rambling. I did like Arkady who seemed like a great character. He's a smart, decent guy, struggling to do a good job. It's not pleasant being a policeman in Soviet Russia. The story is bleak but I did enjoy the insight into Soviet culture. I've heard the later books in the series are much better. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jun 16, 2016 |
“‘There are not many road signs in Russia, you know.’ He laughed. ‘If you don’t know where the road goes, you shouldn’t be on it.'” — Arkady Renko

When Gorky Park was first published in 1981, it was immediately banned in the then Soviet Union because of its apt depiction of everyday Soviet life. Though I’ve never been to Russia (my only immersion into the culture was the year I spent trying unsuccessfully to learn the language), its image is intricately linked with the glamorous Moscow of the film, The Saint, in my mind’s eye. Smith’s depiction is the polar opposite! It’s gritty, dark and dangerous. Everyone fears being sent to political prison, or worse—Siberia. And they would be right to be afraid; the murky past of a close relative, one whisper from a vengeful neighbor, or even owning a Bible would be enough get one into trouble with the KGB.

Detective Arkady Renko lives a simple life. Though the son of a decorated war general, and a member of the communist party, he prefers not to make waves or get any marks on his party card. Murder is his specialty, which is fine by him, as all the ones he has come across are the direct results of drunkenness, jealousy or accident. Open. Shut. What he isn’t prepared for are the three frozen bodies found in Gorky Park, with their faces skinned and fingertips cut off. Clearly, this is not your average Soviet murder.

I enjoyed this book for the same reasons I was enamored of Smilla’s Sense of Snow. It was simultaneously a page turner and social commentary. Though things have changed globally since 1981, many things are still the same. Greed, money and corruption make the world go round, and you’d be a fool to think otherwise. Everyone seemingly has a price that they can be bought at, and those that are faithful to their beliefs and standards often suffer. I’ve already purchased the next book in the series, grateful that unlike Peter Hoeg’s book, Renko lives on for another seven books. ( )
  dreamydress48 | Jun 3, 2016 |
Book Description “Brilliant . . . enough enigmas within enigmas within enigmas to reel the mind.” –The New Yorker A triple murder in a Moscow amusement center: three corpses found frozen in the snow, faces and fingers missing. Chief homicide investigator Arkady Renko is brilliant, sensitive, honest, and cynical about everything except his profession. To identify the victims and uncover the truth, he must battle the KGB, FBI, and the New York City police as he pursues a rich, ruthless, and well-connected American fur dealer. Meanwhile, Renko is falling in love with a beautiful, headstrong dissident for whom he may risk everything. “Once one gets going, one doesn’t want to stop. . . . The action is gritty, the plot complicated, [and] the overriding quality is intelligence.” –The Washington Post “Reminds you just how satisfying a smoothly turned thriller can be.” –The New York Times Book Review “An unbelievable achievement . . . vivid, witty . . . completely fascinating.” –Boston Herald American “Gripping, romantic, and dazzlingly original.” –Cosmopolitan

My Review This was a very difficult book to read. It started off very slow with long descriptive passages and not too much dialogue. Not until halfway through did I start to get interested in the story because of the bogged down writing of Martin Cruz Smith. I will give the author another chance because I feel like his books can only get better and I know people who have enjoyed his books. The ending was actually the best part of the story and tied things up pretty good. I do want to read more of Smith's books about Arkady Renko as I find him a rather unique investigator. I would recommend this book to those who would like to learn more about living in Russia during this period of the book. ( )
  EadieB | Jun 1, 2016 |
I Read it, liked it but forgot the plot after all these years. This was his first book tht I remember and a surprise best-seller. ( )
  Bruce_Deming | Feb 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martin Cruz Smithprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paolini, Pier FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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All nights should be so dark, all winters so warm, all headlights so dazzling.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345298349, Mass Market Paperback)

"Brilliant...One of the best books of the season."
ASSOCIATED PRESS
A triple murder in a Moscow amusement center: three corpses found frozen in the snow, faces and fingers missing. Chief homicide investigator Arkady Renko is brilliant, sensitive, honest, and cynical about everything except his profession. To identify the victims and uncover the truth, he must battle the KGB, FBI, and New York police as he performs the impossible--and tries to stay alive doing it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:11 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A triple murder in a Moscow amusement center: three corpses found frozen in the snow, faces and fingers missing. Chief homicide investigator Arkady Renko is brilliant, sensitive, honest, and cynical about everything except his profession. To identify the victims and uncover the truth, he must battle the KGB, FBI, and the New York City police as he pursues a rich, ruthless, and well-connected American fur dealer. Meanwhile, Renko is falling in love with a beautiful, headstrong dissident for whom he may risk everything. -- Book Description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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