©1981 Martin Cruz Smith; (P)2006 Recorded Books LLC
"Brilliant...One of the best books of the season." (Associated Press)
This guy is a fabulous writer - The book is filled with beautiful descriptive sentences and is refreshingly free of the over-used adverbs and adjectives that permeate so many novels. I enjoyed the glimpse of life in Russia during that time period. The downside for me was the slow pace of the plot, and the fact that even though I felt sympathy for the main character, I wasn't really drawn in to the point where I really cared passionately about what happened to him. The reader was fine, but not outstanding.
I purchased this book because of the excellent reviews however, about half way into it I completely lost interest and found that I was not looking forward to turning it back on. I didn't care about the murdered victims, the detective was not very likeable and/or lacked a personality that made him interesting, and there was way too much about the politics of the day. I guess if you love political and social history, you would enjoy this book. I like a mystery/thriller that grabs me from the start and keeps me listening and guessing throughout the book. I also like either likeable or quirky characters with personal side stories that also entertain. This book just did not do any of that for me.
I first read this book 20 + years ago and fell in love with Arkady Renko and MartinCruz Smith. At that time I read every book in the series. Now all these years later I discovered thru Audible, there were MORE Arkady Renko books! I bought them all and loved listening to them, especially Wolves Eat Dogs. Not ready to let go, I decided to reread, via audio, the earlier books, beginning with Gorky Park. It bowled me over yet again! It is even more rich, stark, gorgeous, shattering, gripping, satisfying, disturbing, elating, and just overall wonderful than I remember it. And the narrator, with his spare unadorned delivery is perfect for Renko's tone of mixed despair and irony. Anyone lucky enough to be meeting this character and narrator for the first time is in for a spectacular treat!!!
I love Martin Cruz Smith books and especially Gorky Park
I hated the narration by Henry Strozier. It is a pity that Henry did not find out the correct pronunciation for the Russian words he was using. I cringed. After living in Moscow for time I felt like he sounded like a tourist - destroying the Russian language. I also felt that he could have given more life to the characters. He sounded as if he was just reading the book rather than reading it to an audience.
It took me a while to get into this one, and a while to like the main character. This started as a procedural, but most of the mystery was revealed half or two-thirds of the way through. The rest was just a thriller, but a good one.
Story wanders a lot becoming somewhat chaotic in the latter third of the book. I lost interest and stopped caring about the story but only stayed with it until the end because I'd already invested too many hours in listening to this. If you like dark and depressing stories , then I recommend it.
I liked "Gorky Park" and stayed with it through the end but gave up on "Polar Star". Rented the "Gorky Park" movie, bought the T shirt, and both were just okay (as you can see I am a toughie). The problem the author has is a writing style that leads the reader from one more or less unpredictable moment to another. I found myself saying after a while, "who cares". Both books really could have used a much more ruthless editor (phone the copy desk).
soul cold tense
the head-slapping surprises.
"a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma"
A narrator (Polar Star) I liked slightly better pronounced the hero's name ArCAdy. Henry Strozier calls him ARcady. I think ArCAdy is correct (Russian words are usually stressed on the penultimate syllable) but I don't know. I would hope somebody on your team would look this up. as it was, every time I heard his name I felt like I had to either learn to do it like Henry or correct him in my mind. Thanks.
I really enjoyed this book! Strozier did a nice job narrating the book. He was good at portraying the voices of the male characters, but not so much with the voices of the female characters. However, his overall performance was good. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series!
If you are looking for a crime novel to enjoy unbelievable twists of the plot written by talented author and narrated by a very good narrator, you will enjoy this book. But do not try to "learn russian soul" using this book. It is breathtakingly phony in that regard.
Narrator is very good but he did not bother to learn correct pronunciation of Russian names of hotels, cities etc. If he would give a bottle of Vodka with caviar to any russian drunkard with fur hat and ask him to help, he would do much better job:).
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