No. Excellent book, but life is too short for second readings of popular fiction.
Renko, of course.
He brings a personification to each character that I might not take from the book. He makes each character important within the context.
Sure, but not practical. It is always nice to come back to a good book.
I probably will. The story is full of twists and intriguing.
It is as good as usual.
I, inabitant of the land, have seen another world.
The story progressed rapidly, but the mystery part did'nt come quickly.
This is the first time I listened to Frank Muller. I could see the characters appear before my eyes and speak and move. I want to listen to him more.
Crime novels are gloomy, but especially in the Polar Star.
The author's writing is lyrical and beautiful, very nicely complemented by Muller's narration.
The story line is convoluted and a little confusing, but so well written and read I really wanted to enjoy this author, I'm running out of good ones.
However, I did have trouble with this style of protagonist. The investigator, Arkady Renko is tentative, shy and fearful. Worse, he foolishly repeats previously life threatening actions without seeming to remember or taking defensive precautions the second time. It is very distracting to read a book where the main character is at times very insightful, but while he knows he is in constant danger, he is seemingly stupid.
In the story, he is on a large boat with several hundred people and there people he knows trying to kill him. But he just blunders around, hoping he doesn't run into them, yet of course he does. And when they try to kill him, he inevitably escapes in some miraculous way.
I am not a fan of stupid or suspending belief, but I'll risk another just for the beautiful, descriptive writing and the narration, but the personality of Renko seems to be set, so I'm not hopeful.
These books have a good plot and Renko is a great character even if he's about as sardonic as it gets. I'm looking forward to him being back in Moscow.....or somewhere warmer.
I'm really torn between three and four stars for this one. It continues the story of Arkady Renko and I can't say too much about it without spoiling the ending of Gorky Park (take note that Polar Star begins with a brief review of everything that happened in Gorky Park so you really should read it first if you care about such things).
My initial thought when it came to reviewing was that this is exactly the opposite of the cozy mystery genre. There's nothing cozy about a factory ship in the Bering Sea and the assorted mayhem and murder that surrounds Renko is described in intricately lurid detail. The mystery element is extremely well done. It put me in mind of the way that Agatha Christie writes, there are wee clues spread hither and yon and it keeps you guessing with assorted red herrings and sub-plots right up to the reveal. Even after who killed whom is determined, the thriller side of the plot keeps on kicking through to the bitter end!
Additionally, Mr Cruz has captured well the Russian style and mindset (as best I can tell from my reading of translated works anyway) and occasionally throws some beautifully worded similes out, I think my favourite was "Slava and his sax leaned into 'Dark Eyes', extracting amber from sap."
I'll definitely be following up on Mr Renko in Red Square.
This book was expertly narrated by Frank Muller, and had no issues whatsoever.
With the cold war 20+ years past, this novel is starting to show it's age. Who knows, perhaps with the rise of Putin, we'll see a return to this type of east/west relationships.
Old school soviet politics aside, this novel was still very entertaining. I haven't read Gorky Park nor seen the movie, but that didn't prevent this novel from being excellent on it's own accord. Frank Mullers deadpan inflection matched the somber "grey" Soviet era atmosphere created in the book, and greatly enhanced the listening experience.
Of course, as in most thrillers, there are some incredible leaps of logic on behalf of the hero in order to solve the mystery, but these were easily overlooked and is a minor criticism. Only one other complaint, and that is that this author, like so many before, felt the need to write in a "sex scene" for no apparent reason. I'm not a prude and I understand the need for these in some story lines, but in this story it seemed placed specifically for a certain demographic, but not to enhance the story.
So, if you like a solid thriller/mystery that is outside the standard US major city setting common to most of these stories, give this novel a try. It's worth the credit.
I have not read the first book in the series "Gorky Park", but was able to thoroughly enjoy "Polar Star" anyhow. It was very, very good and I enjoyed the author's character development, particularly of the main character, Moscow investigator Renko.
Martin Cruz Smith is an excellent writer. When you put that together with the brilliant narrator, Frank Muller, you've got perfection. I look forward to reading all of the books in the series.