Tatiana: Book summary and reviews of Tatiana by Martin Cruz Smith

Tatiana

An Arkady Renko Novel

By Martin Cruz Smith

Tatiana
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2013,
    304 pages.

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Book Summary

One of the iconic investigators of contemporary fiction, Arkady Renko - cynical, analytical, and quietly subversive - 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, Martin Cruz Smith's most ambitious novel since Gorky Park, the melancholy hero finds himself on the trail of a mystery as complex and dangerous as modern Russia herself.

The fearless investigative reporter Tatiana Petrovna falls to her death from a sixth-floor window in Moscow the same week that a mob billionaire, Grisha Grigorenko, is shot and buried with the trappings due a lord. No one makes the connection, but Arkady is transfixed by the tapes he discovers of Tatiana's voice, even as she describes horrific crimes hidden by official versions.

The trail leads to Kaliningrad, a Cold War "secret city" and home of the Baltic Fleet, separated by hundreds of miles from the rest of Russia. Arkady delves into Tatiana's past and a surreal world of wandering dunes and amber mines. His only link is a notebook written in the personal code of a translator whose body is found in the dunes. Arkady's only hope of decoding the symbols lies in Zhenya, a teenage chess hustler.

More than a mystery, Tatiana is a story rich in character, black humor, and romance, with an insight that is the hallmark of Martin Cruz Smith.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Anyone who enjoys crime novels but hasn't read Smith is in for a treat. Read this book, then look for other Arkady Renko adventures. " - Kirkus

"Starred Review. 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 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." - Publishers Weekly

"A continuing adventure that in terms of popular fiction is surely a work of art." - Washington Post

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Author Information

Martin Cruz Smith Author Biography

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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