Read Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith Online


A triple murder in a Moscow amusement center: three corpses found frozen in the snow, faces and fingers missing. Chief homicide investigator Arkady Renko is brilliant, sensitive, honest, and cynical about everything except his profession. To identify the victims and uncover the truth, he must battle the KGB, FBI, and New York police as he performs the impossible--and triesA triple murder in a Moscow amusement center: three corpses found frozen in the snow, faces and fingers missing. Chief homicide investigator Arkady Renko is brilliant, sensitive, honest, and cynical about everything except his profession. To identify the victims and uncover the truth, he must battle the KGB, FBI, and New York police as he performs the impossible--and tries to stay alive doing it....

Title : Gorky Park
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345298348
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 433 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Gorky Park Reviews

  • Kemper
    2019-04-02 16:32

    Between watching the ‘80s era Soviet spies in FX’s The Americans, and tensions running high over Russian activity in the Ukraine, it almost seems like Cold War never ended. In fact, because of a European consulting firm being brought into my workplace, I’m seeing Russians all over my building. Hopefully things don’t hit the point where I have to take to the hills and go all Red Dawn. Wolverines!!With all this red scare stuff going on, it seemed like a great to time revisit this old favorite. It’s the early ‘80s and three bodies have been found under the snow in Moscow’s Gorky Park with their fingertips removed and their faces peeled off to prevent identification. Militia chief homicide investigator Arkady Renko finds an enemy of his from the KGB on the scene showing an interest in the bodies, and that can mean nothing but trouble. As he reluctantly begins to investigate the murders and discovers that one of the bodies was an American, Renko wants nothing more than to dump the case on the KGB since he’s pretty sure they killed those people anyhow. However, Renko soon finds himself embroiled in schemes that may mean that he’s the only who gets punished for trying to be a detective in a society that doesn’t want to admit that crime exists at all.So the hook here is that it’s a mystery set in the Soviet Union, and even though that era has come and gone, it’s still incredibly interesting to get this peek behind the old Iron Curtain. Martin Cruz Smith didn’t just give us a procedural of how Soviet cops worked, he also provided a view of an entire country living under a system where covering your own ass had become an art form and logic rarely entered in to it. It’s kind of like working for a corporation only a corporation can’t ship you off to Siberia if you rock the boat too much. (Or at least they can’t yet. I probably shouldn’t give them any ideas….)Even though this has plenty of Soviet political intrigue and an international aspect to it this doesn’t feel like a spy story, and that’s mainly because of Arkady Renko. During this reread I found myself comparing Renko to one of my favorite fictional detectives, Matt Scudder, because they’re both pragmatic men who don’t see the point in fighting a system that’s inherently corrupt, but there’s a quiet streak of idealism in both that believes that some crimes have to be answered for. Renko is stubborn with a sly talent for screwing up the plans of powerful people, and there’s a great worn down but not beaten element to the character.Smith also had excellent timing when he created Renko because through the next several decades he could use his detective to give us mysteries that are also glimpses of what it’s been like for Russians through the fall of the Soviet Union and the aftermath today.

  • Eve
    2019-04-02 22:40

    “‘There are not many road signs in Russia, you know.’ He laughed. ‘If you don’t know where the road goes, you shouldn’t be on it.'” — Arkady RenkoWhen Gorky Park was first published in 1981, it was immediately banned in the then Soviet Union because of its apt depiction of everyday Soviet life. Though I’ve never been to Russia (my only immersion into the culture was the year I spent trying unsuccessfully to learn the language), its image is intricately linked with the glamorous Moscow of the film, The Saint, in my mind’s eye. Smith’s depiction is the polar opposite! It’s gritty, dark and dangerous. Everyone fears being sent to political prison, or worse—Siberia. And they would be right to be afraid; the murky past of a close relative, one whisper from a vengeful neighbor, or even owning a Bible would be enough to get one into trouble with the KGB.Detective Arkady Renko lives a simple life. Though the son of a decorated war general, and a member of the communist party, he prefers not to make waves or get any marks on his party card. Murder is his specialty, which is fine by him, as all the ones he has come across are the direct results of drunkenness, jealousy or accident. Open. Shut. What he isn’t prepared for are the three frozen bodies found in Gorky Park, with their faces skinned and fingertips cut off. Clearly, this is not your average Soviet murder.I enjoyed this book for the same reasons I was enamored of Smilla’s Sense of Snow. It was simultaneously a page turner and social commentary. Though things have changed globally since 1981, many things are still the same. Greed, money and corruption make the world go round, and you’d be a fool to think otherwise. Everyone seemingly has a price that they can be bought at, and those that are faithful to their beliefs and standards often suffer. I’ve already purchased the next book in the series, grateful that unlike Peter Hoeg’s book, Renko lives on for another seven books.

  • j
    2019-04-22 19:30

    There's this concept in fantasy writing, world-building? Sci-fi too. It's pretty self-explanatory: because these books are not taking place in our universe, it's up to the author to give us all the details -- to paint the picture, provide shading in just the right places, ensure we can tell what we are supposed to be looking at. Economics, politics, interpersonal relations, language, gender roles, humor... This can be done well, emphasizing just here and embellishing just there, so the empty spaces also fill in the canvas. Or it can be done poorly, cramming in everything, and we wind up with Where's Waldo, and no one can figure out what the hell is happening. Martin Cruz Smith is a really good world-builder. I mean, he's writing about a real place, but it doesn't exist anymore, as such, so I don't think that makes his job any easier. Granted, I have no idea what life was like in the Soviet Union in the early '80s, and maybe the author didn't either. But this is a fully realized world, a backdrop that adds a great deal of freshness to yet another twisty detective thriller. Part of the reason Stieg Larsson books created a new genre in the U.S. (well, sort of -- the Swedish location-specific murder genre) are his weirdly obsessive descriptions of the Swedish landscape, which gave readers something to focus on while Lisbeth was shopping at Ikea. Here, the sense of place is as compelling (with weather as miserable); the plot and writing, a lot better.Arkady Renko is a great character. He knows how the system works, sees no problem in "losing" the files on a few murder cases to keep the crime rate low and the politicians happy. Yet he refuses to follow the party line, pisses off the wrong people, follows leads when he has no vested interest, not even a strong desire for justice. He just wants to be right. He is assigned to the case of three corpses found shot and mutilated in a famous park, and it seems like he keeps working on it for no reason other than the fact that it violated his personal sensibility that it's uncouth to murder people in a place where people come to relax, commiserate with friends, maybe do some ice skating.The plot is pretty complicated, as you'd expect, but the trappings (you'll see what I did there in a second) are pretty fun. Without giving too much away, everything ties into the international fur trade, and if Martin Cruz Smith is right, it's a bloody business. This is a Russian sable:This is a Russian sable fur coat:[image error]It costs about $150,000, and requires dozens of pelts. If you would wear this coat, you are an asshole. Same for a hat. Case in point:The tail-end gets a bit droopy -- Renko loses his shit and goes into a pity spiral, and there's all this mirroring of the ways the U.S. and Communist Russia are totally opposite but equally rotten, but then there's an intense final chase sequence that got me muttering at my iPod to hurry up and get it over with, so I guess that worked out. Otherwise, the female characters are no great shakes, but I've read a lot worse on that count.Some enterprising bookstore clerk needs to put this series on an endcap when the Dragon Tattoo movie comes out in December, because it is aching to be rediscovered.

  • Jim
    2019-04-18 19:25

    This novel was originally published in 1981. Almost 36 years ago. I believe that I attempted to read the book once before, perhaps shortly after it's publication, but did not finish. I wish I had read it then. Reading it today I find it is dated. The author demonstrated talent in describing scenes in the story whether it is in Moscow, a Russian dacha, or a dingy New York hotel room you could visualize it and feel as though you were right there. What I found difficult to believe was the level of corruption and conspiracy. Basically everyone. Arkady Renko, a chief homicide investigator, is assigned to a case involving three corpses found in Gorky Park, an amusement park in Moscow, who have had their faces and fingertips cut off. It is a cold case ... no pun intended. The victims had been buried in the snow and only revealed when the snow started to melt. Renko is smart and sensitive. He is also a victim. His wife doesn't love him and is having an affair. His superiors use him. Life in the Soviet Union is like an insane asylum. In the Soviet Union dissidents are labeled as mentally ill and forcibly treated with psychotropic drugs. Renko exposes corruption and dishonesty wherever he finds it, including on the part of influential and well-protected members of the elite, regardless of the consequences. The consequence being that he finds himself described by a KGB agent as mentally ill ..."You have unreal expectations… You overestimate your personal powers. You feel isolated from society. You swing from excitement to sadness. You mistrust the people who most want to help you. You resent authority even when you represent it. You think you are the exception to every rule. You underestimate the collective intelligence. What is right is wrong and what is wrong is right."I had a difficult time deciding on how many stars to give this book. At times I found myself into it and the story. Other times though it seemed to drag and I just wanted it to end so I could move on to the next book. Maybe in 1981 before the collapse of the Soviet Union I would have been more deeply into the book. Today though it just felt outdated. IMHO.

  • Armada Volya
    2019-03-28 15:34

    A little bit of actual research would've been nice. I am very forgiving when it comes to getting things wrong about USSR; after all, not everyone lived there and not everyone knows the culture. I was able to forgive the misuse of names and the word comrade. I was able to forgive the fact the the author seems to think that Moscow is located at the north pole. Factories suing each other though.... come on. Who doesn't know that in communism all factories belong to the state? That would mean that the government was suing itself. Also couldn't forgive the idea that kgb would have to cover up killing people accused in treason. I had a family member die because he was a suspect. I knew many others who's family members die the same way. Trust me, kgb didn't have to cover up for any of it. Killing "traitors" and "enemies of the people" was a part of their job. The article in the teacher's newspaper in the begining of chapter 2 was also a load of cat poo. Why would a government put Stalin, who was Georgian, and Khrushchev, who was Ukrainian, in power if the policies were so racist against non-Russians? Of all the problems USSR had, racism was not one of them. In fact, racism is something USSR used in their propoganda against the US. There were movies made where they were specifically criticizing US for segregation. The "pop babies" propaganda did exist in USSR, but it wasn't to have Russians as the dominant race, it was because during WWII almost an entire generation got killed They needed to repopulate the country.

  • aPriL does feral sometimes
    2019-04-04 22:35

    Well. Sigh. I'm deciding what to write. Ok. Truth.I'm disappointed with 'Gorky Park', book one in the Soviet Union's Inspector Arkady Renko series. Oh, it's a fine inventive entertainment for a mystery, with a lot of twists and near death escapes, tons of corrupt cops and officials, and so many betrayals and hidden motives I am amazed the body count wasn't higher considering the undrained swamps that Renko wades through in not just Russia, but also in New York City. In Russia, many different official police, prosecutor and spy departments want Renko to not really solve the murders of the three bodies found in Moscow's Gorky Park, but instead they each want him to say he solved the crimes in the way each department head wants. Each has a plan to force or trick Renko into filing a report that each of the representatives of the different Russian departments want, and afterwords they each plan to file a report of his sudden death - hopefully being able to say it was suicide, or from being killed by an enemy of the state, or because he had been made to confess to the murders or confess to working as a corrupt double agent. There are scenes of meetings between nefarious officials and underworld characters which made no more sense to me than they did to Renko, other than establishing confusing and possible relationships. Later, in America, Renko is manhandled and passed around in the custody of the FBI, the New York City police, the KGB, and a rogue triple agent. I am still scratching my head over the supposed reason for the Soviets to allow Renko to travel to America and the Big Finish reveal. It did not ring true at all.But I guess the biggest complaint I have is the story has too much plotting! I could not suspend disbelief after I was 60% into the story. Instead I began to feel I was reading a sneaky tongue-in-cheek joke mystery or an overcooked Dashiell Hammett The Maltese Falcon simulacrum by a very good writer who had been asked to come up with a huge summer blockbuster script by a tone-deaf Hollywood producer.So. Other than the fact I was snorting and guffawing when I wasn't supposed to, it is a well-written mystery. Three stars for the good writing and wily twists. Maybe you won't guffaw, gentle reader. I am going to read the next one, 'Polar Star' because I am wondering what new mystery/spy plot inventions the author can possibly have left after tossing in every mystery genre plot mechanism that has ever been created into this book.

  • Tom Mathews
    2019-04-16 19:42

    I've been wanting to read this book for a very long time so it was disappointing t0 find that it wasn't quite as enjoyable as I'd hoped. Some characters were well fleshed out and Smith was great at describing the locale, making it easy for readers to visualize their surroundings, be they a Russian General's dacha or a dingy New York hotel room. What did bother me was its pacing and it's labyrinthine conspiracy where it seems that almost everybody was colluding with everyone else. For a book with only 365 pages it seemed to go on forever. I will probably read more Arcady Renko books but it may be a while. ✭✭✭½

  • Bill Lynas
    2019-03-28 16:29

    Martin Cruz Smith's novels featuring Chief Investigator Arkady Renko have long been favourites of mine. As there hasn't been a new Renko book since Tatiana in 2013 I thought I'd return (for the fourth time) to the beginning. Yet again I'm still thrilled by the excellent plotting, the well drawn characters & the author's ability to create a fascinating portrait of Russia.Gorky Park is not only one of my favourite novels it is also one of my all time favourite films. When I was young I had the film poster on my bedroom wall & I still listen to James Horner's excellent soundtrack today. So if you want to read a great thriller just remember (as the film's tagline goes)......It all began with three faceless bodies in the snow.

  • April
    2019-04-18 14:41

    If only there were Russian men like Arkady Renko! What a hero. Martin Cruz Smith, despite making up an implausibly wonderful Russian man in Arkady Renko, just totally nails some things about Soviet Russia. I get nostalgic even thinking about it.Got a plane ride coming up? If you haven't read this - GO NOW! BUY IT! I promise you won't regret it.

  • Ioana
    2019-04-03 16:48

    This is probably my most favorite "detective" novel read to date, because it is so much more than a mystery--it is really a masterfully written, poignant, cynical, realistic, and all-too-palpable portrayal of life behind the Iron Curtain. Having been born and raised in this part of the world before 1989, I almost cannot believe how well an American author was able to capture the dreary, corrupt, existentially-dispiriting and hopeless atmosphere of the era, without moralizing and without futile and inapt comparisons to a cheery, hopeful, democratic "west". In fact, Cruz Smith manages to draw parallels between the two as equally corrupt, and oppressive - in their own ways.The story, to me, was besides the point (perhaps its main point, though, was illustrating the futility of seeking "justice" when immense power is at stake-on both sides of the Curtain). There is no "happy ending" here, no neat story arc tied with a bow and concluded in a satisfactory way.My favorite part of this novel was Cruz Smith's ability to portray the Russian psyche, and there is nothing that does this better than humor and insinuations (that may be lost on those who are not familiar with the Eastern Block machinery-and Cruz Smith, bless his soul, is not explicit-explicating to a "western" audience the intangibles of life beyond the Iron Curtain would only destroy the novel's realism). Other reviewers have written that they gained a new appreciation for Cruz Smith only after traveling to this region of the world--this makes a lot of sense, as one can still sense the desperation and dreariness of the "eastern-block" soul of the era, even today, when traveling to former Communist countries.In many ways, 99% of conversations of the time either consisted of (1) backhanded humor or (2) dark innuendo. Martin Cruz Smith does this brilliantly. Some examples:* In explaining how he came up with smuggled icons for the motivation to murder, Arkady says that it's about Marxist dialectic: "We are now in an intermediate stage of communism where there are still criminal tendencies resulting from relics of capitalism in the minds of some individuals. What more obvious relic than an ikon?" (then he goes on to point out that material evidence also points to ikon smuggling).* "Stalin gothic was not so much an architectural style as a form of worship. Elements of Greek, French, Chinese, and Italian masterpieces had been thrown into the barbarian wagon and carted to Moscow and the Master Builder Himself..."* In describing wiretapping by the KGB of foreign hotels: "The French all complained about the food, and the Americans and English all complained about the waiters. Travel was so irritating."* In describing Arkady's meeting with an agent of the KGB: "[the KGB agent] might even start with a joke, establishing a fresh, more amiable relationship, perhaps describing their current misunderstanding as purely institutional. After all, the KGB was maintained out of fear. Without enemies, real or imagined, outside or within, the whole KGB apparatus was pointless. The roles of the prosecutor's office, on the other hand, were to demonstrate that all was well..."* In discussing theater: "But you can't do Camus' The Stranger for a Soviet audience. A man takes the life of a total stranger for no reason but ennui? It's purely Western excess. Middle-class comfort leads inevitably to ennui and unmotivated murder. The police are used to it, but here in a progressive socialist society no one is tainted by ennui" * A subordinate of Arkady: "I'm no theoritician like you. It takes a genius to know what's against the law" (My personal favorite).* In describing trying to process a body, there are pages about "the right forms": "Nobody would touch the body without the right forms. Still no one could find the right forms. Someone suggested there were no such forms, and that set off a panic..."* "It doesn't matter how ridiculous a lie is if it's your only chance of escape. It doesn't matter how obvious the truth is if the truth is you'll never escape."* Arkady, observing American clerks using telephones in NY: "The clerks would pick up a phone, say no more than a word or two and set it down. In Moscow an office telephone was an instrument of gossip considerately provided by the state; it was hardly ever used for work, but it was always busy"* "Interrogation is largely a process of rebirth done in the clumsiest fashion possible, a system in which the midwife attempts to deliver the same baby a dozen times in a dozen different ways."and on and on. I LOVE this book!

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-24 20:28

    In 1981, when Smith published Gorky Park, the Berlin Wall had yet to fall, and Glasnost wasn't yet a twinkle in Gorbachev's eye. Perhaps in that climate, nearly 40 years into the Cold War, a thriller set largely behind the Curtain, exploring how the Red half lived, was enough to titilate an audience. Because the effusive praise heaped on this one surely isn't due to the writing. Gorky Park is a messy narrative at best, a willy-nilly hodgepodge of Soviet cliches at worst. Most disappointing is the lack of mystery in this thriller, as the bad guy (who, incidentally, wears a black hat) gets identitified early on, and thereafter simply pops up with all the convenience of a jack-in-the-box bogeyman. Wildly overrated.

  • Gary Inbinder
    2019-04-21 15:40

    First read more than thirty years ago, this novel held up well on a recent second reading. It's an excellent police procedural/thriller with a compelling narrative, strong characterizations and fine descriptive detail of crime, forensics and detection in Moscow toward the end of the Soviet Era.

  • David Jackmanson
    2019-04-21 16:30

    One of my favourite noir novels ever, a story I keep coming back to. The first time I read this book I thought it was just typical USAian triumphalism over the Soviet Union, but I was wrong. The USA is shown as a place where it's a little easier to breathe, but it's dominated by the rich and powerful just as the Soviet Union is.Arkady Renko is a prosecutor's investigator for homicide in Moscow in the late 1970s. He is called to a murder scene in Gorky Park, Moscow's favourite place to forget the world for a little, where three bodies with their faces cut off and their fingertips sheared have lain for several months. He desperately tries to get out of the case, supposing that the victims were killed by the KGB, whose Major Pribluda is an enemy of Renko. But the case sticks to him like a friend who needs a loan, and Renko is forced into intrigue and lies so he can either do his job, or avoid it.Suspicion falls on a visiting USAian businessman, a fur dealer, whose aura of money and power make the drabness of Moscow even duller than it really is. But while this seems the perfect excuse to shunt the case over to the KGB, Renko still is stuck with it.Gorky Park is a book about power, about what people who have it are like and what they get to do to people who don't. The details of everyday life in Moscow are fascinating, and the murder is gruesome enough to excite people who like that sort of thing but these are ultimately side issues. Martin Cruz Smith's book is about what it's like to live in a world where the rich and powerful can get away with almost anything - and he's not just talking about the Soviet Union.NB: For an essay that perfectly explains why I enjoy noir fiction, see Raymond Chandler's The Simple Art of Murder:The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations and almost rule cities, in which hotels and apartment houses and celebrated restaurants are owned by men who made their money out of brothels, in which a screen star can be the fingerman for a mob, and the nice man down the hall is a boss of the numbers racket; a world where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket, where the mayor of your town may have condoned murder as an instrument of moneymaking, where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practising; a world where you may witness a hold-up in broad daylight and see who did it, but you will fade quickly back into the crowd rather than tell anyone, because the hold-up men may have friends with long guns, or the police may not like your testimony, and in any case the shyster for the defense will be allowed to abuse and vilify you in open court, before a jury of selected morons, without any but the most perfunctory interference from a political judge.It is not a very fragrant world, but it is the world you live in, and certain writers with tough minds and a cool spirit of detachment can make very interesting and even amusing patterns out of it. It is not funny that a man should be killed, but it is sometimes funny that he should be killed for so little, and that his death should be the coin of what we call civilization. All this still is not quite enough.In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

  • Perry
    2019-04-06 20:45

    Stealthy Police Procedural set in Moscow prior to Perestroika and Dissolution of U.S.S.R.Back in the U.S.S.R.: Well the Ukraine girls really knock me outThey leave the West behindAnd Moscow girls make me sing and shoutThat Georgia's always on my mindLennon-McCartney, 1968****Arkady Renko is chief homicide investigator for Moscow's Soviet militsiya (the city's civilian police force). When investigating the murder of three American college students found frozen in the snow of Gorky Park, faces and fingers removed, Renko faces resistance from the KGB, FBI and NYC police.Renko is intelligent, moody, cynical and at times defiant in his dogged pursuit of the killer's identity, which puts him at odds with a brash, wealthy American fur trader. The detective's weakness is his love, of course, for a beautiful Soviet dissident who'll do nearly anything to get out of the USSR.What sets this suspenseful 1981 novel apart is Martin Cruz Smith's meticulous portrayal, in vivid and stunning detail, of day-to-day life in the Soviet Union prior to perestroika and the Soviet Union's dissolution.

  • Eric
    2019-04-05 19:32

    While I didn't always love the experience of reading this novel, I am glad to have read it, if only for the fictional glimpse of Soviet Russia during the Cold War. I didn't enjoy how drawn out the book became after such an intriguing start. But then, I was only expecting a police procedural set in Russia. This novel was much, much more -- a cat and mouse game, a story of fugitives and bandits, a view of Soviet "justice," a story of torture, a social commentary on America by a Russian narrator, a political thriller, and a love story. So while certain parts of it dragged, I can't really fault it for all its ambition. Also, this book taught me a colloquial Russian phrase that seems to be appropriate in almost any situation, "fuck your mother." So hooray for this book expanding my worldliness, and fuck your mother.

  • JamesLove
    2019-04-16 19:25

    An excellent murder mystery that reveals the hypocrisy of Communism. A homicide investigator is forced to work a three body homicide in Gorky Park. The KGB enters the crime scene and immediately makes the CID that investigated the Jeffrey MacDonald murders look more like the professionals of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation than the Keystone Kops. The KGB then decides after destroying the scene that the bodies are not part of any foreign plot to destroy Mother Russia.The chief investigator deals with the creme de la creme of Russian society. People who feel that they deserve more than what they have and are immune to the Socialist rules they are governed by and claim makes them superior to the petit bourgeois members of a capitalistic society.The best descriptions of facial reconstruction techniques in forensic artistry.

  • Carlos Azevedo
    2019-04-11 14:39

    Este livro foi escrito há mais de 30 anos e quando a URSS começava a dar mostras de desagregação.Nesta época eram comuns os contactos informais entre FBI e KGB e esta guerra, verdadeiramente fria, domina todo o livro. Há um dilema moral que o atravessa e faz "pegar" no livro, mesmo que por vezes pareça que está a fugir para coisa nenhuma. Não está. É preciso paciência, mas as recompensas estão ao virar da página.Desconheço porque tinha este livro na estante, desconhecia que o tinha (!) e não me pertence (!). É sempre mau emprestar livros :)

  • Daisy
    2019-03-26 18:38

    I can't believe I resisted this for so long. There used to be a German copy on our shelves, a book my husband actually read (smart guy but doesn't read much fiction), but I unloaded it a long time ago without a thought since its popularity turned me off. It turns out to be a worthwhile, luxurious read for a Russophile. I don't care that it's a thriller (though all thrillers should be this good--and of course they're not), the atmosphere is so vivid and visual. Moscow is my favorite character and after that, brooding, terse Arkady Renko, who never wastes words. The language is pretty gorgeous. So maybe it was a lucky thing to have read this 30 years after its publication with obvious hindsight and with a romantic longing for a certain youth that makes even the Cold War seem enticing. It brings back up the disconcerting coexistence of dishonesty and absolute bluntness in those Soviet interactions. Oh who am I kidding? Sometimes the lingering effect is the impractical dream of being an Irina or a Margarita or an Anastasia. I just don't know where that comes from.At the autopsy-room door Arkady stopped to light a cigarette."You going to puke?" Levin looked up when he heard the match strike."Not if it interferes with your work..." p. 11"It's a curious thing" -- he went on talking while he ate -- "it used to be that whenever Russian émigrés arrived in America they would start a restaurant. They served wonderful food -- beef Stroganov, chicken Kiev, paskha, blini and caviar, sturgeon in jelly. That was fifty years ago, though. The new emigrés can't cook at all; they don't even know what good food is. Communism has erased Russian cuisine. Now, there's one of the great crimes." p. 317

  • Matt
    2019-04-01 22:22

    A murder mystery story mostly set in Moscow. Three bodies have been found frozen and faceless under the snow in Gorky Park. Arkady Renko of the Moscow militia sets out to investigate. It turns out this case is far more complicated than usual and Renko soon finds himself entangled in a complex web of conspiracy, corruption, espionage, murder and the smuggling of s— [spoiler removed].I know the 1983 film base on the novel quite well. Therefore I knew who dunnit (and why) prior to reading the book. Reading was enjoyable anyway because I could concentrate more on the characters and their motivations than on the actual story. There are also quite some differences (minor and major) and a whole new part that is missing from the movie that made the reading worthwhile. Will I read the other books in the Arkady Renko series? Yes, probably. He's an intriguing character as far as Moscow police officers go. [3½ stars]This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • ☼♄Jülie 
    2019-03-30 21:26

    I've just looked this up after being reminded of it, this was one of my favourites at the time, when I was heavily into espionage novels.I really enjoyed this book so much that I couldn't wait to see the movie when it came out, which I also liked a lot...starring William Hurt and Lee Martin.That was back in 1983, when espionage was very different from today's versions.

  • Gary
    2019-04-15 20:24

    After an intriguing start the novel drifted and became very drawn out. At one point I found that I didn't really care what was happening and very nearly gave up. It did get better and I appreciate that my point of view is different to many others but the end of the book was very welcome.

  • Carol
    2019-04-04 14:41

    Alas, I'm again the outlier.

  • Cheryl
    2019-03-25 22:35

    Really 2 and 1/2 stars.The plot's pacing was very uneven. There were a few times I almost abandoned the book. It could've used a better editor, who would have removed about 100 pages to improve the flow of the story. Having seen the film version when it first came out, I thought the film was better.

  • Shatrujeet Nath
    2019-03-22 17:48

    This one had been on my wishlist for the longest of time because the idea of a police procedural set in Soviet Russia drew me instantly. Yet, it's only now that I finally got around to reading it.I must confess that it has left me with mixed feelings. There are things about this book that I really liked, and things that just didn't make sense. Of the things I liked, one was the starting premise of the investigation that Arkady Renko initiates after finding the dead bodies in Gorky Park -- as chief investigator of the Moscow militia, Renko only wants to lead the investigation to a point where he can happily hand over the case to the KGB. I thought this was lovely because it makes Renko a reluctant hero and stands that "dogged investigator" stereotype on its head. Of course, as the case progresses, Renko is pulled deeper and deeper into the mystery, and eventually he does evolve into the dogged investigator... but still it was cool. I also loved the way the author used linguistic flourishes to describe scenes, characters and emotions. Smith is a very good writer, and many descriptions almost had a touch of poetry in them. The scene I remember best is the one where Renko is sitting on a Ferris wheel in the park and ruminating about his childhood -- I thought the writing captured the moment as well as all of Renko's life and ambitions and hopes.On the flip side, the mystery itself was not something that I liked a whole lot. The bad guys are identified and tagged even before the halfway mark, and even the twist in the tale lies uncovered at the two-thirds stage. So the denouement really takes a long time, and by the end of it I was just looking a finishing the book so I could move on to a new one. Not a nice thing to say about a book. The only reason I really persevered till the end was the quality of the writing, I guess. What also put me off at times was the infuriatingly convoluted plot and a roundabout style of storytelling. Characters like the NYPD cop Kirwill had backstories that didn't seem to matter (to me, the character himself didn't seem necessary to the story) and a lot of time is spent on stuff that really doesn't take the story forward. Towards the final stages, we get entire chapters about Renko bonding with Major Pribluda of the KGB over potato gardening and mushroom farming, or Renko sitting in a hotel room and thinking about his life with lady love Irina. Extremely boring bits. I sometimes got the feeling that Smith really didn't intend this book to be a thriller, but more of a commentary on the surface-level differences between Soviet Russia and America -- and the deeper similarities between the two when it came to the extent of rot within. All in all, I am not sure if I will read another Arkady Renko book again. If I do, it will probably be for Smith's control over language, scene and setting.

  • Nhi Nguyễn
    2019-04-02 14:20

    Mở đầu bằng việc phát hiện 3 xác chết chôn vùi dưới những lớp băng trong công viên Gorky, khuôn mặt của họ bị tàn phá và đầu ngón tay bị cắt xẻ để đảm bảo không thể được nhận dạng, "Án mạng trong công viên Gorky" dần dần rẽ sang một hướng điều tra mà mình không thể nào ngờ được khi đọc tóm tắt của cuốn sách này. Mọi chỉ dấu và suy luận của thanh tra Arkady Renko tài năng bất ngờ dẫn đến sự khám phá cả một âm mưu liên quan đến KGB, FBI, những tên gián điệp hai mang, trên cái nền là sự xung khắc giữa Liên bang Xô Viết theo chế độ cộng sản và một nước Mỹ tư bản giữa thời kỳ Chiến tranh Lạnh.Trong mắt mình, cuốn sách này không chỉ đơn thuần là một cuốn trinh thám nữa; tác giả đã nâng tầm nó lên thành một cuốn thriller điển hình, với những bước ngoặt không ai lường trước và những sự thật được phơi bày. Nhiều đoạn đẫm chất điện ảnh, mình đọc và có cảm giác như thể đang được xem những thước phim của câu chuyện diễu ra trước mắt vậy, vô cùng hồi hộp và chân thực. Đọc xong rồi mới biết tiểu thuyết đã được dựng thành phim, nên chắc sẽ thu xếp coi phim "Gorky Park" trong thời gian sắp tới :))Cá nhân mình thì vẫn thích đọc tiểu thuyết trinh thám về mấy tên giết người tâm thần biến thái hơn, nó ghê rợn và đáng sợ hơn nhiều. Nhưng dù sao những gì tác giả Martin Cruz Smith mang đến trong "Án mạng ở công viên Gorky" cũng đã đủ làm hài lòng mình rồi, tuy vẫn còn nhiều chỗ khá khó hiểu và khó theo dõi (chắc tại nó liên quan đến chính trị này kia, đọc mãi mới hiểu được ấy. Có những điểm mình đọc kiểu gì cũng không hiểu nên bỏ qua luôn, nhưng may là những điểm này chỉ là phần phụ, không ảnh hưởng lắm đến nội dung chính của câu chuyện ^^).P.S.: Cuốn này nằm trong to-read shelf của mình lâu lắm rồi ý, may mà giờ đã đọc được :D Cảm ơn Bách Việt vì cuối cùng cũng đã xuất bản cuốn này nhá :))

  • Abhinav
    2019-04-04 14:37

    3 to 3.5 stars. Would've been 4 stars probably if I had not come across Child 44 first, which meant this was always gonna be compared to Tom Rob Smith's novel.I think if John le Carre wrote crime novels instead of espionage ones, it would end up being something similar to 'Gorky Park'. What is admirable about this book is its scope - how it starts with a triple murder in the heart of Moscow, transcends through places like Leningrad & Shatura and finally culminates in a riveting finale in New York. The protagonist Arkady Renko is a likeable character & his obvious indifference to his marital failures might even seem endearing at times. Also, you wonder what's going on for much of the first half of this book & all of a sudden, things slowly & eventually falls into place.However, what stops this from reaching awesomeness levels is how the plot drags on & on at times, which can be very frustrating. I understand it's not exactly a fast-paced thriller & is actually a police procedural, but it doesn't make reading an easy task. Also, the world Martin Cruz Smith makes us envision is realistic but since it's set in the Brezhnev era, it's not really as terrifying as it would've been if set in the Stalinist era.Still, I'd reckon you read 'Gorky Park' by Martin Cruz Smith. It's not perfect, but has a good mystery at the core of its plot & fans of crime fiction would find it a worthwhile read.

  • Liviu Szoke
    2019-03-28 16:22

    Din recenzia de pe Blogul FanSF: ''Ce mi-a plăcut la Arkadi Reanko a fost modul cum a fost construit de autor: acesta n-a încercat să-l facă un supraom cu o viață fericită, plin de bogăție și cu femei care-i cad la picioare din cauză că este cel mai strălucitor anchetator al Rusiei, ba din contră – nevasta îl înșală și bagă divorț de el din cauză că el refuză întruna să devină corupt ca să-i poată asigura ei condiții mai bune de trai, se îndrăgostește de un dușman al poporului care nici nu știu cum de scapă de gheara KGB-ului atât de mult timp, îi șicanează pe cei din KGB, dar scapă mereu datorită protecției oferite de mentorul său, Nikitin, și de procurorul-șef, Iamskoi, este mucalit, ironic, nu acordă o atenție prea mare discuțiilor care i se par lipsite de importanță, în schimb se dovedește a fi un copoi cu nas extrem de fin, care merge până în pânzele albe pentru a-și rezolva cazul, în ciuda tuturor avertismentelor pe care le primește pe parcurs''. Mai multe, aici:

  • Chris
    2019-04-04 19:48

    So this is a spy novel. Sorta. So this is a love story. Kinda, as long as you ignore the fact that the romance sub-plot feels a bit contrived and is totally more of a Hollywood type love plot. You know the kind they throw in because they think women like them, but the female lead really isn’t necessary at all. It’s about the Cold War and Capitalism. It’s a fun listen that’s for sure. Don’t let how long it took me to finish it influence you. Audio books always take me awhile (mostly because I leave them when I’m falling asleep). Much better, much better, than the movie.

  • Joyce Lagow
    2019-04-16 20:40

    Written in 1981, this book has had something of a cult status as one of the first popular entries in the international mystery/thriller genre. It is the first in the Arkady Renko series, the second being published much later, in 1988.[return][return]Arkady Renko is a chief investigator in the Moscow militia, the police section of the MVD. As opposed to the KGB, which investigates cases related to security, the militia are usually concerned with domestic violence, drunkenness and the occasional murder. Moscow, under communist rule, is ostensibly one of he safest cities in the world, since crimes that don fit the socialist definition of acceptable are merely defined out of sight. But Renko s job is usually fairly dull.[return][return]Until 3 bodies, clearly homicides, are found in Gorky Park, a popular amusement center in Moscow s heart. The KGB shows both an unusual interest and a complete lack of willingness to step in and investigate these murders, particularly odd since one of the victims is most likely a foreigner. Renko, who smells a rat, is determined to make a case that will force the KGB to take the case off his hands.[return][return]The plot is excellent, building up in tension and with enough twists to keep the interest high. Set in 1977, Russian life under Brezhnev was not as bad as in the Stalinist era, but was still highly regimented and repressive; dissent was not allowed, although the mass murders and purges of the Stalinist era were gone. But rigid allegiance to the party line was necessary for any kind of decent life, and obligatory for career advancement. Smith ,as part of the story, shows what daily life for Muscovites was like the hardships, the lack of decent consumer goods, the regimentation and it is very well done.[return][return]What is a very nice surprise is that 27 years later, the writing is still good not dated, but taut and spare, portraying both the mood of the average Soviet citizen and the lives they were forced to lead and an excellent plot line. Even given the events over the past 3 decades, the story line does not seem outdated at all merely a Russian police procedural set in a particular era, which I think is an achievement. His characters seem almost contemporary, and are well-drawn.[return][return]Almost 30 years old, this is still a good read. Highly recommended.

  • Razvan Zamfirescu
    2019-03-28 21:42

    Spicuiri din recenzia finala care se gaseste pe blogul meu..........................................Arkadi este genul de personaj care poate foarte ușor să fie luat drept model de către cititori. Inteligent, hotărât, puternic, un bărbat adevărat. Bineînțeles că șarmul său crește exponențial având în vedere personajele cu care se întâlnește de-a lungul poveștii și nu are cum să nu impresioneze și să nu fie o figură de succes. Însă Arkadi nu este excepțional doar datorită antitezei sau conjuncturii. Arkadi este excepțional și datorită faptului că este un ușor antierou pentru că este un comunist convins. Își face treaba cum trebuie nu dintr-o convingere neapărat polițienească cât pentru că, deși nu este un membru de partid care să exceleze în practica politică, se vede că Rusia comunistă cu morala și legile ei îi priesc. Se simte ca peștele în apă în comunism. Felul său de a vorbi uneori este parcă rupt din cărțile de propagandă comunistă. Modul de a-și justifica unele acțiuni de-a lungul anchetei sunt, iar, cu specific de milițian moscovit. Pentru țară, ăsta este motto-ul lui Arkadi, chiar dacă nu-i atât de evident din capul locului........................................