Investigator Arkady Renko, the pariah of the Moscow prosecutor's office, has been assigned the thankless job of investigating a new phenomenon: late-night subway riders report seeing the ghost of Joseph Stalin on the platform of the Chistye Prudy Metro station. The illusion seems part political hocus-pocus and also part wishful thinking, for among many Russians Stalin is again popular; the bloody dictator can boast a two-to-one approval rating. Decidedly better than that of Renko, whose lover, Eva, has left him for Detective Nikolai Isakov, a charismatic veteran of the civil war in Chechnya, a hero of the far right and, Renko suspects, a killer for hire. The cases entwine, and Renko's quests become a personal inquiry fueled by jealousy.
Starred Review: "This masterful suspense novel casts a searing light on contemporary Russia." - PW.
"Starred Review. From Gorky Park (1981) onward, this series has always been about the perils of digging: whether it's bodies under the snow or radioactive facts that the powerful want to keep hidden, the treasures that Renko seeks always contain the seeds of his own destruction. But somehow digging his own grave is what keeps Renko alive--and keeps us reading." - Booklist.
"The sustained success of Mr. Smiths Renko books is based on much more than Renko. This authors gift for tart, succinct description creates a poisonous political backdrop, one that makes his characters survival skills as important as any of their other attributes." - The New York Times.
"Today's Russia, as Smith pictures it, is a madhouse -- poor Renko is the only sane man in sight. The Soviet Union, under communism, was awful but predictable. The new Russia confronts Renko with a bewildering mix of capitalism, corruption, mob violence, political consultants, policemen who are hired killers, feminism, Chechen terrorists and, most incredibly, nostalgia for Joe Stalin." - The Washington Post.
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Martin Cruz Smith was born in Pennsylvania in 1942. He earned a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964.
Cruz Smith first burst onto the literary landscape with his critically acclaimed Gorky Park, which went on to become an international bestseller. His subsequent novels include Polar Star, Red Square, Havana Bay, and Rose, of which the latter two won the Hammett Award. He lives with his family in California.
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