Wolves Eat Dogs
With this novel, his 11th, Marin-based writer Martin Cruz Smith returns to Arkady Renko, the brilliant, melancholic Moscow detective who is the protagonist of the novel that made him famous, Gorky Park. Government thugs have been replaced by Mafia thugs, but otherwise life in Russia now is just as corrupt, secretive and brutal as before. When one of the new breed of billionaires falls to his death from his penthouse apartment, the only clue a mound of salt in his closet, Renko begins a search that leads him into the ultra-rich world of the new business oligarchs and, from there, to the radioactive wasteland surrounding Chernobyl. The images from this ghost-ridden land of the scavengers, old people and scientists who defy death to live and work there are so compelling they almost overwhelm the mystery story. But Renko is a detective; solving the murder of one man, even in a land where thousands have died, is important. Pick this one up for the mystery story and read it for the astonishing envisioning of Earth’s only post-apocalyptic landscape.