NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK • “Sharply, evocatively written and elaborately plotted . . . [Red Square] should find as many friends as did Gorky Park.”—The Washington Post Book World
Back from exile in the hellish reaches of the Soviet Union, homicide investigator Arkady Renko discovers that his country, his Moscow, even his job, are nearly dead. But his enemies are very much alive, and foremost among them are the powerful black-market crime lords of the Russian mafia. Hounded by this terrifying new underworld, chased by the ruthless minions of the newly rich and powerful, and tempted by his great love, defector Irina Asanova, Arkady can only hope desperately for escape. But fate has something else in store.
“Gripping . . . Smith at his best.”—The Wall Street Journal
“A crackling suspense thriller.”—The Boston Globe
“Fascinating . . . powerful.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Absorbing.”—The New York Times
The Soviet upheavals have fueled the glowing talent of Smith (Gorky Park), America's preeminent writer of Russia-based thrillers. Investigator Arkady Renko returns from exile on the Polar Star fleet to find the new Moscow a dramatic battlefield of warlords and entrepreneurs; behind it, as still as a painted backdrop, eight million people standing in line. An ingenious bomb kills Renko's informer the banker for freewheeling black marketeers-leading Arkady's team through the quicksand of mafia-dominated official graft. His workaholic forensics expert, Polina (who must wait in line for morgue time as well as for beets), identifies the bomb method, leading Arkady too close for aparatchik comfort. He is bumped from the case, but only after a clue from the dead man's fax (Where is Red Square?) points him toward a Munich connection. Meanwhile, he is stunned to hear his lost love, Irina, on Munichbased Radio Liberty and with his last bit of clout wrangles a barely official trip to Germany. His mastery of the Russian system stymies the Munich embassy and reunites him with Irina in the midst of nasty fellow citizens bent on national theft. With vital aid from a Munich cop, Arkady links the fax clue to Russian bureaucrats, the ethnic Checken mafia, and German bankers. The novel paints the new post-Soviet aura through the stoic hero's wry humor and leaves Arkady and Irina perfectly poised, like Russia itself, for whatever comes next. Major ad/ promo; author tour.