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Publisher's Summary

In Wolves Eat Dogs, beloved detective Arkady Renko enters the privileged world of Russia's new billionaire class. The grandest of them all, a self-made powerhouse named Pasha Ivanov, has apparently leapt to his death from the palatial splendor of his ultra-modern Moscow condominium. While there are no signs pointing to homicide, there is one troubling and puzzling bit of evidence: in Ivanov's bedroom closet, there's a mountain of salt.

Ivanov's demise ultimately leads Renko on a journey through Chernobyl's netherworld. The crimes he uncovers and the secrets they reveal about the New Russia, make for a tense, unforgettable adventure.

Solve another case with Arkady Renko.
©2004 Martin Cruz Smith (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"Martin Cruz Smith is a master of the international thriller." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • IVAL
  • FREEHOLD, NJ, United States
  • 05-08-12

Overwhelming

What made the experience of listening to Wolves Eat Dogs the most enjoyable?

Arcady Renko never disappoints and this book is one of the best!! Set in post-meltdown Chernoble, it is stark, disturbing and oh so beautiful.

What other book might you compare Wolves Eat Dogs to and why?

Unlike some of the other more recent Renkos, this book is set outside the grime of cities. For a real experience, go to the author's website - he has photographs there of his own trip to Chernoble, which he has painted in lush richness for us in words. How can something be at once lush and stark?? I don't know but MCS does it.

Which scene was your favorite?

The ruined amusement park, reminiscent of the ferris wheel scene in Gorky Park, is particularly evocative.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The setting, and Arkady's equally bleak, resigned, but still vitally alive response to it, are the most moving aspects of this book. As with all these books, the plot is intricate and satisfying in both its complexity and its economy. Every detail is significant. And in this book we meet Yeva, and with her a new opportunity for Arcady to try to construct a meaningful inner life for himself.

Any additional comments?

I cannot think of a better way to immerse yourself in Arcady Renko's world than with this audiobook. Arcady's personality emerges so intensely thru the expert reading by the narrator, Henry Strozier. Any reader who has not experienced this series of books has an incredible experience awaiting him!!!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Thrilling; genuinely Russian. Cruz Rules!

For those of you already familiar with Arkady Renko, this book will not disappoint. He is a unique creation in fiction, and I cannot wait for Martin Cruz Smith to re-create him. Henry Strozier is also a great narrator. The combination will provide you with many hours of entertainment. Being in Renko's company is like seeing the world through the eyes of a master detective, cynical on the surface, romantic underneath, masterful in skill. To set this novel in Chernobyl reflects the author's courage. Cruz Smith's research and attention to detail is unknown in this genre: the truly real historical fiction but-really-not-fictional mystery. He takes you to places you've never been (unless you are a real Russo-phile) and he shows you how the people live in a way that is unmistakably true. Renko stumbles into a substitute father-son relationship with Zhenya, a master teenage chess ace, who lives on the streets and hustles chess for a living. He likewise stumbles into a chaotic romantic relationship with Dr. Yva Casca, a resident of "The Zone" (the hyperdestructive radioactive circle around the collapsed nuclear reactor in Chernobyl). Their relationship is triangulated with a character I will not mention. There are several subplots. The final scene is a work of true genius. Once you read it, you may never again feel the same about novels in general. Cruz Smith has been a master for decades. I hope he lives to be 100. Enjoy!

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Note to Self: No More Arkady Renko Novels

Based on many of the reviews, I thought this would be a good book. Argh. Even on double time, I could hardly wait for the book to end. Honestly, there were times I thought I had missed whole sections. Disjointed, uninteresting, etc., etc. Not worth your time or money. I was in the USSR soon after the Chernobyl disaster (there were no vegetables except cucumbers - I've never forgotten) so I thought that would hold additional interest for me...but no. Sorry to bag on this book, but it's not a good one.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 11-11-15

Henry Strozier is a superb narrator!

Wolves eat Dogs is the fifth book in the Arkady Renko series. The book was written 11 years ago. The book is set around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine, but most of the action is in Moscow. Arkady is, as usual, the hero.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A radioactive amusement park

I listened to this book immediately after listening to Stalin's Ghost.They are clearly woven by the same hand but in many ways different. Mr Cruz Smith has become a tour guide for Soviet catastrophes and abominations. In Wolves Eat Dogs it is the disaster from the fallout of the explosion at Chernobyl. In Stalin's Ghost it is the mass executions at the killing fields of Tver. In either case he makes the history and its exposition fascinating.
Most of the story in Wolves eat Dogs occurs in the exclusion Zone around Chernobyl, where assorted characters, doctors and scientists reside in a radioactive wonderland. Animals thrive and plants thrive despite the radioactivity because there are no humans, a much greater threat to their survival. Mammoth cities constructed before the explosion remain abandoned and uninhabited, just as would occur in an Armageddon scenario. And what remains, human, animal and plant is from an alien Universe.Into this setting stumbles Arkhady Renko, a Moscow investigator, whose sole preoccupation is to discover the truth, which makes him laughable because he is completely out of step with everyone else who is driven by lust, avarice and revenge. These include an American mobster masquerading as a Hassidic jew, a radioactive Russian doctor and many, many more. The murder mystery itself is not nearly as interesting as the zone, the explanation for how Chernobyl occurred and the bungled aftermath of the explosion, and finally the creation of this netherworld. This is one of the most creative and off beat books I have read. I highly recommend it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew
  • Wesport, CT, United States
  • 09-18-13

Arkady never disappoints

This is the 5th Arkady Renko novel, all are entertaining and well researched, if you are interested in learning about Russia and the Ukrain in 2004 this is a must read. You
do need a quite place, his novels are not all page turners and some of the narrators are subpar, however all of his books are worth the effort. I am listening to Havana Bay now on CD as it is not available on Audible, this is very good also and is the 4th in the series, bought the CD's used for about $24 which is pricey but I do not think they are in great supply.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • Monrovia, California, United States
  • 01-01-16

A Dystopian Reality

On April 26, 1986, something very bad happened in the Ukraine. The Soviet Union - never known for its quality control - accidentally melted down a nuclear reactor. Unlike the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi failure, nature had nothing to do with it. The disaster at Chernobyl only killed 31 people outright, but it's killing tens of thousands more very slowly.

Martin Cruz Smith's "Wolves Eat Dogs" (2004) is set partly in the hard, glittering nouveau riche world of the Russian Oligarchy, and partly in what's in true life called the "Zone of Exclusion." Chernobyl is a real life dystopia, and in "Wolves Eat Dogs", it's not just Cesium 137 as assassin. Cruz Smith's dark, imperturbable and admirably compassionate Detective Arkady Renko, on leave from a paid-to-be-disinterested Moscow police force, is looking for more recent killers.

It never crossed my mind that people might choose an early and painful death from thyroid cancer rather than leave their homes. Would people actually risk radiation poisoning to steal antiques from abandoned irradiated homes, or random car parts from derelict vehicles - and then sell them to unsuspecting Eastern Europeans? Or would they hunt - and then sell the game to restaurants? Cruz Smith's descriptions seemed so vivid and plausible that I did some research - and CNN, The Daily Mail and Business Insider (!!) confirm that people are still there. The thievery and the contaminated game might (hopefully) just be Cruz Smith's imagination, but the suggestion of truth makes "Wolves Eat Dogs" unforgettable.

As memorable as the book is, it was muddled. At one point, locations jumped - and I was so confused I had to rewind because I thought I'd lost a transition. There was no transition. Some of the minor characters weren't particularly distinguishable from others, and I got them mixed up. One character I thought was dead at one point was alive later. I was momentarily bewildered.

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9 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Such a great read until last chapter

Completely unnecessary for the story and made me lose sympathy/empathy for several of the characters. It was such a great book up to that point. There's nothing Martin Cruz Smith could do to make betrayal of a trusting animal and making sport of killing it seem like an acceptable social activity. And really, what does it say about that kid, that he really seemed to enjoy it all? That's hardly something one should put in the mind of a child at an impressionable age. I didn't need it in my mind, either.

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Got this book free on my first reader and didn't

Would you listen to Wolves Eat Dogs again? Why?

Yes, because I like it.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, and the book was full of information that was very interesting.

Which character – as performed by Henry Strozier – was your favorite?

Arkaty

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Tag line?

Any additional comments?

I'm thinking I'll buy a hard copy.

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Not sure

I don't know if this book was boring or just not my taste. I found my mind wandering and only finished it because I always finish books. I must admit, I couldn't even tell you what it was all about. The narrator spoke mostly in monotone, which I find difficult to follow.