Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
Synopsis from GoodReads:
A triple murder in a Moscow amusement center: three corpses found frozen in the snow, faces and fingers missing. Chief homicide investigator Arkady Renko is brilliant, sensitive, honest, and cynical about everything except his profession. To identify the victims and uncover the truth, he must battle the KGB, FBI, and New York police as he performs the impossible–and tries to stay alive doing it.
This book. It should have been so interesting. I mean, it’s a book about an investigator in Soviet Russia who’s honestly trying to do the right thing and find actual criminals and get the honest off, which according to this book, at least, was a pretty hard thing to do. Unfortunately, this ‘novel’ reads more like a textbook than a work of fiction.
The writing style is easy to comprehend but it’s so dry. Even when there are exciting happenings – such as fights and shoot-outs – I just couldn’t get a sense of urgency or danger or really anything.
I couldn’t connect to any of the characters, I had trouble keeping some of the minor ones straight, and I just wasn’t interested in what was happening to anyone. To say nothing of personalities changing as the plot dictated. Or at least that’s what it felt like to me.
On top of that, this wasn’t a mystery or a thriller or anything like that. We know from almost the beginning who the bad guy is and it’s simply the act of managing to get him arrested that takes up most of the plot of the book. Plus, of course, the requisite dealing with corruption inside both the Soviet Union and the U.S.A.
There were brief glimmers of humor, but they were few and far between and not enough to save this book. 1.5 stars.
Gorky Park counts towards the 1960-1979 period for my When Are You Reading? Challenge.