Wolves Eat Dogs : Arkady Renko

  • by Martin Cruz Smith
  • Narrated by Henry Strozier
  • Series: Arkady Renko
  • 11 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


What the Critics Say

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


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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!
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- Richard Delman "I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get."

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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- Cynthia "Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always.""

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-25-2011
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio