In Moscow, A Day At The Park Could Be Murder

“Gorky Park” is a thriller by Martin Cruz Smith which brought Russian homicide investigator Arkady Renko to literary life.  It starts off with Renko being called out to a scene where three corpses are found in the frozen landscape of Gorky Park.

Renko finds a much more complicated situation when the brother of one of the victims arrives on a mission of revenge.  He is also getting enmeshed in the machinations of the KGB and a millionaire fur dealer from America.  His marriage is collapsing as he is falling in love with a beautiful dissident with a ruthless streak.

This book was published in 1981 and has all kinds of glowing reviews.  It was adapted into a movie, starring William Hurt, a couple of years later.  I actually had some trouble staying interested in this one.  It got to be somewhat too complicated for my taste as far as the plot goes.  I didn’t find Renko all that interesting or unique as a main character. Even though the setting was somewhat exotic, I didn’t really get drawn into anything special about Moscow or the culture there.  It was just navigating through one gruesome death after another and shifting alliances.  I made it through the book and was glad to read it in some ways.  In other ways, I just had a hard time caring the deeper the story got after the initial murders.

I can’t say that Michael Cruz Smith is a terrible writer, but it seems that his style of prose just fails to resonate in any memorable way with me.

I will next try out a new writer, to me anyway, with Candice Fox’s “Crimson Lake”, which apparently will be taking place in Australia.  Hopefully, this is will turn out to be a newly discovered literary gem for me.

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