A Moscow detective is sent to Chernobyl for a frightening case in the most spectacular entry yet in Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko series.
In his groundbreaking Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith created an iconic detective of contemporary fiction. Quietly subversive, brilliantly analytical, and haunted by melancholy, Arkady Renko survived, barely, the journey from the Soviet Union to the New Russia, only to find his transformed nation just as obsessed with corruption and brutality as was the old Communist dictatorship.
In Wolves Eat Dogs, Renko returns for his most enigmatic and baffling case yet: the death of one of Russia’s new billionaires, which leads him to Chernobyl and the Zone of Exclusion—closed to the world since 1986’s nuclear disaster. It is still aglow with radioactivity, now inhabited only by the militia, shady scavengers, a few reckless scientists, and some elderly peasants who refuse to relocate. Renko’s journey to this ghostly netherworld, the crimes he uncovers there, and the secrets they reveal about the New Russia make for an unforgettable adventure.
A starred review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of unusual commercial interest that hasn't received a starred review.WOLVES EAT DOGSMartin Cruz Smith. Simon & Schuster, (352p) Smith's melancholy, indefatigable Senior Investigator Arkady Renko has been exiled to some bitter venues in the past including blistering-hot Cuba in Havana Bay and the icy Bering sea in Polar Star but surely the strangest (and most fascinating) is his latest, the eerie, radioactive landscape of post-meltdown Chernobyl. Renko is called in to investigate the 10-story, plunge-to-the-pavement death of Pasha Ivanov, fabulously wealthy president of Moscow's NoviRus corporation, whose death is declared a suicide by Renko's boss, Prosecutor Zurin. Renko, being Renko, isn't sure it's suicide and wonders about little details like the bloody handprints on the windowsill and the curious matter of the closet filled with 50 kilos of salt. And why is NoviRus's senior vice-president Lev Timofeyev's nose bleeding? Renko asks too many questions, so an annoyed Zurin sends him off to Chernobyl to investigate when Timofeyev turns up in the cemetery in a small Ukrainian town with his throat slit and his face chewed on by wolves. The cemetery lies within the dangerously radioactive 30-kilometer circle called the Zone of Exclusion, populated by a contingent of scientists, a detachment of soldiers and those the elderly, the crooks, the demented who have sneaked back to live in abandoned houses and apartments. The secret of Ivanov and Timofeyev's deaths lies somewhere in the Zone, and the dogged Renko, surrounded by wolves both animal and human, refuses to leave until he unravels the mystery. It's the Zone itself and the story of Chernobyl that supplies the riveting backbone of this novel. Renko races around the countryside on his Uralmoto motorcycle, listening always to the ominous ticking of his dosimeter as it counts the dangerous levels of radioactivity present in the food, the soil, the air and the people themselves as they lie, cheat, love, steal, kill and die.