©1981 Martin Cruz Smith; (P)2006 Recorded Books LLC
"Brilliant...One of the best books of the season." (Associated Press)
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!!!
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Gorky Park is a detective novel set in the former Soviet Union. It is a dense book with many characters and a plot that seems to plod along - never boring but also never truly exciting. What made this story good, however, was the author's imagery. So many times I thought, "Wow that is a great description!" Also, the author's knowledge and understanding of the Soviet Union seemed very deep. I only hope that the bleakness described has been been lifted since the story was written. It was a fascinating novel if for no other reason than to get a glimpse of this.
The low part of this book, which lead to the title of this review, was the narration. The narrator was more a reader and less a performer. He needed better timing, better intonation, and better character voices for this story to work as an audio book. I felt lost sometimes in scene transitions and in dialogue.
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).
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