Tuesday, April 18, 2006
06.16 Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith
Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith
Cruz Smith has always been one of my more mainstream guilty pleasures. He made his bones back in the 70's writing Nick Carter and other action series. Then in 1981 he wrote his most famous book Gorky Park. This was his first novel to feature the Russian detective Arkady Renko and was made into a big movie.
Wolves Eat Dogs is the fifth Renko novel and the third that I've read. This Moscow detective is a fairly standard portrait in that he he's a kind of downtrodden, outside-the-system guy. That's the cool thing though, about how he structures his book - Renko often gets sent to out of the way places to deal with weird or unusual crimes.
In Wolves Eat Dogs, the Senior Investigator has been called in to investigate the apparent suicide of Pasha Ivanov, wealthy president of Moscow's NoviRus corporation. Ivanov and his partner Timofeyev are part of the "New Russia" - young men who are super rich, have sexy model girls and live in a world of their own. Renko's superiors declare the suicide a closed case even though he makes them aware of a bloody print on the balcony and 50 kilos of salt poured over the floor of the tycoon's closet.
When Timofeyev turns up dead in a graveyard in the Ukraine near the Chernobyl zone of exclusion the book really begins to get interesting. Renko's boss, thinking to quiet his awkward questions on the investigation, sends him off to the new death.
The Chernobyl region 20 years after the disaster is an awesome ready-mady setting for some really wild scenes. The various squatters, scientists and old folk who have returned to an area where the radiation levels are still fatal make up a difficult challenge for Renko's investigation. He bombs around on his Uralmoto motorcycle through abandoned towns and forests, in and around the black depths of the 12km long cooling pond and slowly closes in on the heart of the mystery.
This is a book I would recommend as a quick and easy read - what you might call a vacation book.
Posted by Jason L