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Polar Star (Arkady Renko Series #2)

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Overview

He made too many enemies. He lost his party membership. Once Moscow’s top criminal investigator, Arkady Renko now toils in obscurity on a Russian factory ship working with American trawlers in the middle of the Bering Sea. But when an adventurous female crew member is picked up dead with the day’s catch, Renko is ordered by his captain to investigate an accident that has all the marks of murder. Up against the celebrated Soviet bureaucracy once more, Renko must again become the obsessed, dedicated cop he was in ...

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Polar Star (Arkady Renko Series #2)

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Overview

He made too many enemies. He lost his party membership. Once Moscow’s top criminal investigator, Arkady Renko now toils in obscurity on a Russian factory ship working with American trawlers in the middle of the Bering Sea. But when an adventurous female crew member is picked up dead with the day’s catch, Renko is ordered by his captain to investigate an accident that has all the marks of murder. Up against the celebrated Soviet bureaucracy once more, Renko must again become the obsessed, dedicated cop he was in Gorky Park and solve a chilling mystery fraught with international complications.

“Stunning.”
–The New York Times Book Review

“Impossible to put down . . . a book of heart-stopping suspense and intricate plotting, but also a meticulously researched, ambitious literary work of great distinction.”
–The Detroit News

“Martin Cruz Smith writes the most inventive thrillers of anyone in the first rank of thriller writers.”
–The Washington Post Book World

“Gripping . . . absorbing.”
–The Philadelphia Inquirer

THIS TITLE COMES FROM MORTALIS: Mysteries and Thrillers

Random House Trade Paperbacks is please to present Mortalis, a line of books featuring mysteries and thrillers that are historical and/or international in scope. The list includes trade paperback originals as well as reprints of classic mysteries, international thrillers, and the occasional tale of true crime.

"Mortalis gives us an ideal way to introduce the best new writers as well as to celebrate the masters in these genres," said Jane von Mehren, Vice President and Publisher, Trade Paperbacks, Random House Publishing Group.

Mortalis republishes some classic authors such as Martin Cruz Smith , P. D. James, Robert Harris, Agatha Christie, and Wilkie Collins as well as original trade paperbacks such as Boris Akunin's SISTER PELAGIA AND THE WHITE BULLDOG (the start of a new series from an internationally bestselling author), New York Times Notable author David Corbett's BLOOD OF PARADISE, and Alex Carr's literary thriller AN ACCIDENTAL AMERICAN. Featuring stunning new packaging, each title contains a "dossier" in the back-a brand new commentary section that illuminates a specific and intriguing aspect of the work, or the author's career.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sprung from a state psychiatric hospital, Arkady Renko takes refuge in Siberia, ultimately working on a Soviet factory ship in the Bering Sea. When one of his shipmates is murdered, he's pressed into service. ``Those eagerly awaiting the return of Renko, the saturnine, chain-smoking police investigator from Moscow who appeared in the bestseller Gorky Park , will be glad to know their hero is back in fine form,'' said PW. Author tour. (July)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345498175
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/12/2007
  • Series: Arkady Renko Series , #2
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 135,984
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 7.95 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Cruz Smith
Best known for the Moscow detective novel Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith is also known for delivering stories of crime, conspiracy and intrigue featuring protagonists whose loyalties are sometimes murky. Whether he is dramatizing history or fashioning his own facts, Smith fills his deeply researched novels with a sense of darkness underneath the detail.

Biography

"You have to be an outsider to write," the novelist Martin Cruz Smith has said, and the protagonists of Smith's novels also tend to be outsiders, viewing their surroundings with the wariness and sharpened attention of the displaced. Smith spent his early writing years churning out potboilers, but with the 1977 publication of Nightwing, a bestseller about a plague of vampire bats that descends on a Hopi Indian reservation, Smith finally earned enough money to embark on the book he really wanted to write: a detective novel set in Moscow.

The book opens on a grisly scene: three corpses are found frozen in Gorky Park, their faces and fingerprints obliterated. Homicide investigator Arkady Renko is put on the case, but his superiors seem less than eager to uncover the truth. Dense, atmospheric and intricately plotted, Gorky Park drew comparisons to the spy novels of John le Carré. It was hugely successful, and was made into a movie starring William Hurt in 1983. Smith wrote a historical novel about the first atom bomb, Stallion Gate, before returning to Renko’s checkered career as a detective in Polar Star and Red Square. Though he bears some resemblance to the disaffected detective of noir tradition, the cynical, depressive Renko also exemplifies the Soviet dissident -- an outsider in his own country.

Renko has been immensely popular with readers, some of whom were disappointed when Smith's 1996 novel Rose featured a new protagonist. But most Renko fans were won over by boozy, broke mining engineer Jonathan Blair, who arrives in an English coal-mining town on a mission to clear up the mysterious disappearance of the local curate. Time magazine called Rose "the most interesting and richly textured crime story of the season."

One thing that sets Smith's work apart from other thrillers is the breadth and depth of his research. Before writing Gorky Park, the author visited Moscow, befriended exiled Russians and read scores of Russian newspapers and magazines in translation. For Rose, he spent weeks in Lancashire talking with miners and visiting mines. Smith's recent works Havana Bay, in which Renko goes to Cuba, and December 6, set in Tokyo just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, are equally fortified with research.

Though he's best known for Gorky Park, now considered a classic in the spy thriller genre, Smith is clearly a writer with more than one trick up his sleeve. "I never thought I would just be doing Arkady books," he once told a Salon interviewer. "I never intended to do any after Gorky Park, so I was pretty amazed when people asked me a few years ago what I was going to do now that the Cold War was over, as if I had been manufacturing missiles. I hate to be categorized. The great thing about being a writer is that you are always recreating yourself."

Good To Know

Martin Cruz Smith was born Martin William Smith, but changed his middle name to his grandmother's surname, Cruz. Smith is the son of a white jazz musician and a Pueblo Indian jazz singer.

George Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier was one inspiration for Smith's novel Rose, set in the English coal-mining town of Wigan; another was a magazine article about the "pit girls" who flouted Victorian convention by wearing pants for their dangerous jobs above the mines.

Havana Bay, which reached No. 17 on the bestseller list, apparently didn't sell quite well enough to keep both author and publishers happy; a Random House publicity director told Salon that "[Havana Bay] didn't do as well as we'd hoped." After it came out, Smith left Random House for Simon & Schuster, which was looking to add more authors who could draw a male audience.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Martin William Smith (birth name); Simon Quinn; Jake Logan
    2. Hometown:
      San Rafael, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 3, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      Reading, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1964
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    One of the best in the series!

    Exciting follow up to the events of Gorky Park. Renko, his life and career in ruin, is in exile in Siberia. The details of life on the ship are excruciatingly real. The cast of characters, thrown together under extreme circumstances, is revealed in all the painful bitterness and vulnerability of their humanity. When Renko is called upon to investigate a murder on board the ship, he is caught up in the inevitable conflict between politics and justice, self-preservation and conscience. Renko simply can't stop looking for answers. Couldn't put the book down. A must read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Arkady Renko returns in top form.

    Russian militia investigator Arkady Renko returns after the brilliant international thriller Gorky Park. Author Martin Cruz Smith keeps the tension high and the characters real. Cruz is the master of the intelligent thriller, and his literary creation is the best since George Smiley.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Arkady Renko returns in a tantilizing thriller in the frozen Arctic Sea

    I'm so glad that I picked up Gorky Park because that book lead me to its sequel, Polar Star. This book, and character, are so enjoyable its almost hard to describe. While it seems all is at its lowest for underwhelming former investigator, Arkady Renko, the reader knows that somehow things will turn out for Renko. Unlike most serials however, everything isn't always coming roses for the lead and that's a part of this that is fantastic. Great stuff!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    Med cat den

    A stone den with a bunch of stone cabniets for medicine. A rock bed for paients.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    Smith wrote pure gold

    Best book ever

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

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