Polar Star Audiobook | Martin Cruz Smith | Audible.com
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Polar Star | [Martin Cruz Smith]

Polar Star

Ex-Chief Investigator Arkady Renko is in deep on the “slime line” - the fish-gutting station - in the Polar Star, a Soviet fish factory ship of some 250 souls, almost as many secrets, and a dangerous shipboard sub-culture that cares little for the Party, and less for human life.
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Publisher's Summary

Ex-Chief Investigator Arkady Renko is in deep on the “slime line” - the fish-gutting station - in the Polar Star, a Soviet fish factory ship of some 250 souls, almost as many secrets, and a dangerous shipboard sub-culture that cares little for the Party, and less for human life.

©1989 Martin Cruz Smith (P)1990 Recorded Books, LLC

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3.8 (507 )
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  •  
    richard San Anselmo, CA, United States 07-10-12
    richard San Anselmo, CA, United States 07-10-12 Member Since 2006

    63 y/o psychologist with two sons, living in SF Bay Area. I absolutely love all the feedback I've been getting for my reviews. It's very gratifying. Thanks to all of you.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Probably the greatest audiobook ever. Really."

    I should try to restrain my praise for Polar Star, but I can't, so I won't. Martin Cruz Smith has written a book so fine, with characters so vivid, a reality so fully lived and a plot so clever that you truly are caught up in this world, the Bering Sea, and a "fish factory ship" in which Arkady Renko slaves on the "slime line." If you haven't read a Martin Cruz Smith book, you are in for a treat, and this one is narrated by the greatest reader who ever lived. I first heard Polar Star about ten years ago, and I listen to it every two or three years. Frank Muller had skills that other narrators can only dream of. He was a classically trained actor. His range of voices was stupendous. Renko is one of the most human of any fictional characters ever created. He is a disgraced Moscow homicide detective. He holds on to his humanity in spite of the efforts of the Communist rulers of Russia to degrade him. The first book in this series, Gorky Park, was made into a movie starring William Hurt as Renko and Lee Marvin, one of the best Hollywood bad guys, as the villain. Polar Star could also be made into a movie. There are so many cinematic scenes that you want to cast them yourself. The climax of the book (I will not spoil it) is a whiteout chase on the ice which I believe you will never forget. The closing image still stuns me. Get ready for Polar Star: once you start listening, you truly will not want to stop. Trust me.

    119 of 120 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Oak Park, IL, United States 02-09-12
    John Oak Park, IL, United States 02-09-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Renko at his best"

    I love all the Martin Cruz Smith/Arkady Renko novels. Smith captures the Russian mentality like no other Western author. The mix of a mystery story plus accurate historical details about Soviet life in "Polar Star" is immensely interesting. And, the narration was perfect.

    John Christmas, author of "Democracy Society"

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Houston, TX, United States 05-14-13
    David Houston, TX, United States 05-14-13 Member Since 2008

    Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.

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    "Character and locale par excellence"

    I tell my acting students that they pass people on the street every day who are as extraordinary and unbelievable as anyone they will play on stage--they just can't see behind the masks. M.C.Smith's books, as carefully plotted as they are, are not about plot. They are, rather, about revealing the desperation, the depravity, the courage and sometimes even the nobility lurking behind the banal masks worn by everyone in a uniformly grey society. Often the worst and the best even co-exist, unsuspected, in the same person. His characters act in ways we never expect, and when they do, our eyes go wide with recognition as their hidden purposes and obsessions become apparent. Not plot but a rich stew of competing and sometimes deadly motives gives his tales their extraordinary power, and at the center is Renko whose only uncompromising motive is the simplist and most dangerous of all--to find the truth.

    Smith's other great strength is the evocation of locale. The white domain of deadly cold which he gives us in Polar Star provides constant intersections of breathtaking beauty and unforgiving peril which the author uses to spine chilling effect during Renko's frequent brushes with death. In almost every instance, numbing cold or intense fire or both play their part in vivid detail.

    Happily, the author's mastery of character and locale are matched by Frank Muller's marvelous voice which brings it all into audible presence, understating but never neglecting a nuance, creating the white world and the grey cast of characters and the suppressed desperation with a bone true reading.

    This book gains momentum slowly but rewards the reader with extaordinary tension and some action sequences which you will likely not forget. I recommend it very highly.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joanne Burlington, Ontario, Canada 08-11-12
    Joanne Burlington, Ontario, Canada 08-11-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Ice, Snow and Arkady Renko"

    Polar Star is one of the best audiobooks I have listened to this year. The story is set on a factory ship that is part of a Soviet-American enterprise to fish in America's Aleutian waters. Followed by American "catcher" ships, the Polar Star seems to symbolize a new kind of international partnership. A murder takes place. Arkady, banished from Moscow and bowed by his circumstances as a worker on the "slime line", is called upon to investigate the murder. Martin Cruz Smith is a wonderful writer: I could see the "gelatinous ice" and swirling fog; I could feel the cold beyond cold. Such hard, cruelly cold work and so many undercurrents - passion, espionage, desperation. The characters in the book are fully formed: the workers all banished, for various reasons, to a job that will feed the Soviet Union or hide them from their pursuers. Frank Muller is fabulous. This is a great book and I can't recommend it highly enough.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Durham, ME, United States 08-27-12
    Barbara Durham, ME, United States 08-27-12 Member Since 2010
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    "held my attention"
    Would you listen to Polar Star again? Why?

    Interesting story, nice details of characters and intriguing interactions among them, but sometimes felt too "hollywood" for me in the way the author resolved situations he had so carefully set up


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack St Petersburg, FL, United States 11-08-12
    Jack St Petersburg, FL, United States 11-08-12 Member Since 2011

    Blind Vietnam veteran. Antique weapons collector. Outdoor enthusiast. Florida State University graduate with Business major. Owner of home health agency. registered nurse.

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    "A Gottcha By The Balls Story"

    The author paints a microcosmic view of soviet life in the latter part of the twentieth century.
    Very perceptive.
    Often sad.
    Always thrilling.
    A great mystery in a great setting.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kendall Boone, Iowa, United States 08-29-12
    Kendall Boone, Iowa, United States 08-29-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Martin Cruz Smith doesn't dissapoint."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This was a great listen. My only disappointment is that I discovered that this was NOT book one of Arkady Renko's adventures. So I downloaded "Gorky Park" and I am going to enjoy Renko from the beginning. Frank Muller does an excellent narration.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan San Jacinto, CA, United States 11-02-12
    Alan San Jacinto, CA, United States 11-02-12
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    "Riveting."

    East meets West is always a tasty recipe and this spicy book is a worthy follow-up to Gorky Park.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    harry PLEASANTON, CA, United States 10-01-12
    harry PLEASANTON, CA, United States 10-01-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Fantastic, Just Fantastic..!"

    This was my first Martin Cruz Smith audiobook. I read a review for Polar Star that called it "The Best Audiobook Ever." I'm going to stop short of that, but not by much. Polar Star is a near perfect blend of smelly, moody melodrama and intrigue pushed forward by Frank Muller's absolutely brilliant narration. This book grabbed me from the start and didn't let go.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott South Burlington, VT, United States 03-03-13
    Scott South Burlington, VT, United States 03-03-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Plodding..."
    What would have made Polar Star better?

    The chief problem, so far as I was concerned, is that the murder victim is a complete cypher; the reader has no relationship with her whatsoever. What this leads to is a sense where I truly lost interest in the "whodunit" aspect ... I essentially didn't care who killed her.


    What was most disappointing about Martin Cruz Smith’s story?

    It was boring. The main character wanders around trying to solve the mystery that none of the other characters care about, and don't want to investigate. For most of the book, the protagonist doesn't care who did it.By about a third of the story, I didn't care who did it.


    Which character – as performed by Frank Muller – was your favorite?

    None of them. But Muller's performance was still the best part of a bad effort.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The setting was interesting, and the bleakness of the arctic circle complemented the Soviet state and the desperation of the characters. Except for Muller, that's it.


    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
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