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Stalin's Ghost


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About the Author

Martin Cruz Smith's novels include Gorky Park, Stallion Gate , Polar Star, Red Square, Rose, Havana Bay and Tokyo Station. A recipient of the CWA Gold Dagger for fiction in the UK, he is also two-time winner of the Hammett Prize in the United States. He lives in northern California.


Detective Arkady Renko, now making his sixth appearance (after Wolves Eat Dogs), is embroiled in a strange case featuring witnesses who claim to have seen Joseph Vissarionovich (that is, the late dictator Stalin) in the Moscow Metro. Balancing contradictory and barely conscious influences ranging from the attractions of his new lover, Eva, to harsh pressures from his long-dead military father, Arkady probes deeper into the case and finds a wily political campaign at the heart of the sightings. While the plot goes on to be nastily Byzantine, and the view of contemporary Moscow is painstakingly real, what makes this deathfest a graceful reflection of human passion is the matching arcs of the lives of Arkady and Zhenya, a 12-year-old runaway who finds safe harbor with Arkady. Be sure your library has all five other books in the series in ample supply because readers will be stripping the shelves. For all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/07.]-Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Moscow-based Senior Investigator Arkady Renko, in his outstanding sixth outing (after Wolves Eat Dogs), investigates a murder-for-hire scheme that leads him to suspect two fellow police detectives, Nikolai Isakov and Marat Urman, both former members of Russia's elite Black Berets, who served in Chechnya. Isakov, a war hero, is now running for public office. Renko must also look into reports that the ghost of Stalin has begun appearing on subway platforms and why several bodies of Black Berets who served in Chechnya with Isakov have turned up in the morgue. Despite repeated threats to his life, Renko stubbornly perseveres, seeking justice in a land that has no official notion of that concept. Smith eschews vertiginous twists and surprises, concentrating instead on Renko as he slowly and patiently builds his case until the pieces fall together and he has again, if not exactly triumphed, at least survived. This masterful suspense novel casts a searing light on contemporary Russia. 250,000 first printing. (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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