Inspector Arkay Renko, (The Siberian Dilemma) is one of the more intriguing characters in crime fiction. A Russian police inspector, he is alienated from the party and the soviet bureaucracy. He invariably clashes with his superiors on has cases, which often expose, in classic noir fashion, corruption in high places. His cases trace Russian history from the last days of the Soviet union to the present. We first meet Renko in Gorky Park, where a winter thaw reveals three bodies. His investigation exposes a scandal that makes him a criminal. In Polar Star, he is on the run in Siberia, working on a fishing trawler, when he is called on to investigate a suspicious death of a crew member. In Wolves Eat Dogs, a reinstated Renko links the suicide of an oligarch to the Chernobyl disaster. In Stalin’s Ghost, a serious of random deaths point back to a war hero with political ambitions. The case highlights the resurgence of Russian nationalism. The Renko series is hard to beat for a hot read on a winter day
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Quotable“The precise role of the artist is to illuminate that darkness, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of our purpose, which is to make the world a more human dwelling place.” James Baldwin