Martin Cruz Smith's “masterful” (USA TODAY) and “irresistible” (People) New York Times bestseller and Washington Post notable book of the year: Arkady Renko must connect the dots among a Russian journalist’s mysterious death, corrupt politicians, murderous gangsters, and brazen bureaucrats.
Arkady Renko, one of the iconic investigators of contemporary fiction, has survived the cultural journey from the Soviet Union to the New Russia, only to find the nation as obsessed with secrecy and brutality as was the old Communist dictatorship. In Tatiana, the melancholy hero unravels a mystery as complex and dangerous as modern Russia itself.
The reporter Tatiana Petrovna falls to her death from a sixth-floor window in Moscow the same week that a mob billionaire is shot and buried with the trappings due a lord. The trail leads to Kaliningrad, a Cold War “secret city” that is separated by hundreds of miles from the rest of Russia. The more Arkady delves into Tatiana’s past, the more she leads him into a surreal world of wandering sand dunes, abandoned children, and a notebook written in the personal code of a dead translator. Finally, in a lethal race to uncover what the translator knew, Renko makes a startling discovery that draws him still deeper into Tatiana’s past—and, paradoxically, into Russia’s future, where bulletproof cars, poets, corruption of the Baltic Fleet, and a butcher for hire combine to give Kaliningrad the “distinction” of having the highest crime rate in Russia.
More than a mystery, Tatiana is Martin Cruz Smith’s most ambitious and politically daring novel since Gorky Park. It is a story rich in character, black humor, and romance, with an insight that is the hallmark of a writer The New York Times has called “endlessly entertaining and deeply serious…[not merely] our best writer of suspense, but of one of our best writers, period.”
In Smith's riveting seventh Arkady Renko novel (after 2010's Three Stations), Renko, now a "Senior Investigator for Very Important Cases," looks into the apparent suicide of crusading investigative journalist Tatiana Petrovna, who fell from a window to her death in Moscow. Renko's bosses have no problem accepting the suicide theory, but Renko and his loyal partner and friend, Det. Sgt. Victor Orlov, continue to search for answers. Smith spins a complex plot involving the Russian mafia, a teenage genius struggling to crack the code of Petrovna's notebook, and an excursion to Kaliningrad, the isolated Russian enclave on the Baltic. While Petrovna may be a candidate for sainthood (she's evidently modeled on real-life reporter Anna Politkovskaya), the most intriguing "character" after Renko is contemporary Russia freer than it was at the height of the cold war, but at least as corrupt and vastly more unequal into which Smith offers many insights.
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Another wonderful book by MCS
Love it. Arkady Renko is a favorite character of mine. It's too bad we have to wait so long in between his books. I love them all. This one is up there with the rest of his.
Renko As Ever!
If you enjoy Arkady Renko you will not be disapointed. There is no one with such a fine style as Martin Cruz Smith. I had to read it straight through.
A book that I was determined to push through, fighting the pretension and plethora of characters. It's no daniel silva, for sure.