Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I just finished Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith, the fifth of his Arkady Renko novels.

Modern mystery novels are really differentiated by two things - characters and settings - and finding a good combination seems to be the key to a good series. Smith stumbled on a brilliant combination in this series - the Russian setting provides a better background than most for the bitter, dis-spirited character that is common in modern mysteries. In this series, Renko has gone from suffering under the Soviet bureaucracy, being fired and toiling in a fishing trawler to post-Soviet Cuba.

Smith has also been lucky that real world changes have provided a nice backdrop for ongoing novels - from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the rise of the Russian Mafia, and in this novel, Chernobyl.

Wolves Eat Dogs is a good addition to the series, and I will probably read the sixth book in the series soon.

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