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10 thoughts on “Polar Star

  1. says:

    In the first major case of his literary career Gorky Park Moscow detective Arkady Renko antagonized too many powerful people As a conseuence he lost his job and his Communist party membership and was shuffled off into oblivion He then disappeared from view for eight years before returning in Polar Star Renko's fallen about as far as a man possibly can From being at the top of his profession as a criminal investigator he's now working on the slime line on a Russian factory fishing ship in the Bering Sea It's a joint Russian American venture in which American trawlers catch the fish and dump them on the deck of the Polar Star The crew on the factory ship then process the fish and freeze them so that they can ultimately get to the marketplace It's a dirty disgusting job and freezing cold to boot Working on the slime line is a job for men who have fallen about as far as they possibly canRenko has been working the line in obscurity for uite some time but then one day one of the American trawlers lowers a net full of fish onto the deck of the Polar Star and caught up in the net is the body of a sexy young woman named Zina who had worked on the factory ship The woman had last been seen standing by the rail of the ship during a dance which had been attended by the ship's crew along with some crew members from one of the American trawlersThe ship's captain knows that Renko was once a top criminal investigator and so pulls him off the slime line and asks him to investigate the death All of the Powers That Be are hoping that Renko will come up with a simple explanation that will not embarrass anyone other than the dead woman The best verdict would be that she fell accidentally into the sea or in the alternative that she committed suicide and was then caught up in the trawler's netIt's clear to Renko though that the woman was murdered and he is determined to get to the truth of the matter Again that's going to antagonize a lot of people some for political reasons and others for reasons far sinister and before long Renko's life will be in danger The Polar Star is a large ship but it's not that big and there are not that many places to hide If he's going to complete his mission Renko is going to have to be very careful and very very luckyI really enjoyed this book a lot Renko is a very intriguing and sympathetic protagonist and there are a lot of other interesting and well drawn characters as well The mystery is compelling and there's a lot of tension throughout the story Smith excels at describing the setting which is at once bleak and beautiful One also learns a great deal about the commercial fishing industry in this book; happily I'm having pork chops for dinner tonight


  2. says:

    Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko books are a series of mysteries set at various points in late 2oth century Russian history starting with the last death throes of Communism This is the second book in the series I’ve read Stalin’s Ghost #6 and watched the film version of Gorky Park #1 Here Renko a former criminal investigator has fled Moscow after the events of Gorky Park and is on the run from the KGB After a series of awful jobs he ends up gutting fish on a trawler in the Bering Sea A fellow crew member is murdered and because of Renko’s uniue skill set he’s asked to help with the investigationWhat sets these books apart for me beyond the glimpses into current Russian society is Smith’s exemplary character building of Renko Renko has a uick mind and a dark mordant wit He clearly sees the cracks in the SovietRussian system and he’s not afraid to his continual regret to speak his mind and buck authority William Hurt did a credible job in Gorky Park but I picture a young Alan Rickman with the line readings in the book Take a line like “Good luck” This is how it’s written by Smith He doesn’t embellish it with “he said sardonically” or “he said cryptically” or “he said with withering sarcasm” Renko’s character has been so firmly established that the reader can add his own inflections as he reads the booksThis book offers up plenty of interesting characters Russian and American plot twists and political intrigue The crimes in these books always start off with seemingly “grand” motivations but usually end up being about something petty and tawdry This is not a bad thingIf you’re looking for a nice blend of police procedural mystery and an “exotic” locale I’d recommend this and the other Renko books


  3. says:

    35 stars I remember reading Gorky Park many years ago In fact I reread it several times I enjoyed the politics of The Soviet Union and the corruption of the state This is the next book in the series which I believe was not written until many years after the originalThis is set on a factory ship in the seas off Alaska This provides tension and claustrophobia to the storyit is very atmospheric I really enjoyed the comparison between the Soviet ship and the American one There were spies and baddies and smuggling and uotas Arcady Renko is aboard as he has been exiled for his part in the Gorky Park investigation This was pretty exciting in places and Renko is a great character Looking forward to the next one where hopefully Renko will be back on dry land and possibly reinstated as an Investigator? Time will tell Well worth a read


  4. says:

    Don't pass on this one It's one of my favorite Renko stories His first exile and on a Russian fish factory ship where Smith gives you a palpable sense of what that must mean for the body and the spirit The mystery and investigation is also top notch with typical Renko twists and insights One of those rare mysteries that I have enjoyed reading over again


  5. says:

    I’m not sure why I delayed getting to this title since I enjoyed Gorky Park so much to which this book is a seuel of sorts Of sorts because it follows directly on the heels of Gorky but the author in a few brief paragraphs lays out precisely why Arkady formerly head investigator for the prosecutor’s office in Moscow is now working as a slimer on a factory ship in the Bering SeaIt’s good Those who don’t like what they view as excessive detail in Moby Dick probably won’t like this book either but as you know I wallow in all manner of detail and the descriptive scenes of working on the factory ship were uite interesting particularly when they discover a slime eel hagfish in the body of a Russian woman who was dragged up by one of the accompanying American trawlers it’s a joint RussianAmerican business Totally gross Because of his previous investigative experience the captain pulls Arkady from the factory line and has him investigate wanting to have everything kosher for the American observers on board Arkardy is forced to walk a very fine line between those in power who see no reason for an investigation nor do they want one and his innate sense of justice that refuses to accept the official verdict of suicide when all the evidence points in a different direction Everyone lies and everyone has nefarious reasons for doing so It’s a world populated by paranoiacs and schemersLots of reflections on Russian society; comments like “In irony we lead the world” which in context is not only amusing but perspicacious And my goodness Smith has a dim view of people in general if his books are any testament


  6. says:

    I'm picking Polar Star as my favorite in the Arkady Renko series The first is Gorky Park and I recommend starting with it Each is a self contained mystery but the background of the protagonist adds considerably to the storyIn Plar Star Arkady Renko is working on a fish processing ship in the Bering Sea This is his reward for solving a politically sensitive murder investigation in the previous Gorky Park Renko was a Moscow police investigator during the Soviet regime His dealings with bureaucracy of the government causes him to constantly tease the third rail of government officialdomSubseuent books starting with Red Suare pick up Renko's story after the fall of the Communist government There are seven in the series and each one is a great read I'd pick Wolves Eat Dogs as the next best but all are terrific


  7. says:

    'Polar Star' #2 in the Inspector Arkady Renko series is a terrific story I think it way superior to the first book in the series Gorky Park It can be a standalone read but Renko's backstory which is referred to occasionally in this novel is described in its entirety in the first novel Missing from this narrative is exactly why Renko an educated man who was an excellent Moscow police detective is now on the run and hiding from the close attention of various Soviet political authorities and no longer a police inspector Arkady's skills are being wasted in his current job cutting up fish on the 'slime line' of the fish processor ship Polar Star From WikipediaSome factory ships can also function as mother ships The basic idea of a mother ship is that it can carry small fishing boats that return to the mother ship with their catch But the idea extends to include factory trawlers supporting a fleet of smaller catching vessels that are not carried on board They serve as the main ship in a fleet operating in waters a great distance from their home ports Polar Star carries 300 people as crew 50 of them women Most of them are processing the fish is in survival mode uietly earning a living in jobs which hopefully are under the radar of people he pissed off in Moscow He is considered politically unreliable by important Communist Party members a death sentence in the Soviet Union Renko insisted on solving cases which involve prostitution smuggling murder and political corruption all of which are considered impossible under a Communist government It is two years after the events in 'Gorky Park' and after many hard labor jobs in Siberia which have served to muscle up the Inspector's body he is now cutting fish up on a boat on its way to Dutch Harbor occasionally stopping to swing aboard the fish caught by smaller American fishing boats to prepare the fish for later sale and distribution in AmericahttpsenmwikipediaorgwikiUnalaGentle reader my mother an Aleut went to school near Dutch Harbor as she was born on Kodiak IslandFate steps in to change Renko's preferred state of intentional anonymity Polar Star crewmember Zina Patiashvili's body unexpectedly falls out of an American fishing boat's net being emptied into the Russian ship's hold for processing How did the Russian crew member's body get in another ship's fishing net? Was she murdered? If so by who and why? Renko is reluctant to take the job of investigating the death because he knows solving it will not be welcomed by anyone but Captain Victor Marchuk gives him no choice; Marchuk has no choice American monitors are on board the Polar Star per international agreements No one else on board has the reuired skill set to find out what happened As Renko expected he soon is experiencing near death 'accidents' Gulp It is a good thing he is in such good shape but even so he is not safe from fish knives which everyone has and bullets not to mention the freezing cold of the Arctic waters just outside of the suddenly too small ship of which he is literally trapped Solving the murder is worse than being elbow deep in fish slime


  8. says:

    More than a decade ago I attempted to read a mystery called Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith I couldn’t stomach it Though it had received rave reviews it seemed to plod and creak toward very little I tossed it in a box and after several cross country moves I have no clue where it is But before I gave up on Gorky Park a selection from the Mystery Book Club arrived in my mailbox I didn’t get home in time to return it and ended up with Polar Star the seuel to Gorky Park in hardbound I was too cheap to get rid of it so I’ve been schlepping it around seemingly forever On two other occasions I started to read it but it just didn’t resonate with meOf course that was before I visited Belarus Somehow experiencing the world behind the former Iron Curtain gave me a perspective that completely changed my ideas about the book Now I realize that the normally sparse and plodding style and the awkward phrasing was a deliberate trope to emulate Russian grammar and the Russian pace of speaking Once I found myself reading the book as though I were in Belarus although the events in the story itself take place on a Russian “factory ship” in the Bering Strait I was able to enjoy the book Fortunately the entire book is not sparse in its language There are two vivid images that I am unlikely to forget The first was a reference to painted lead soldiers toy soldiers in the book but they reminded me of some of my experience with painted miniatures in my actual life that had been thrown together in a box until their paint schemes were uneven and patchy with little flecks of metal showing through Investigator Arkady the protagonist suggested that the men who were veterans on the factory ship looked a lot like those neglected soldiers with all their missing paint The second image was a simile of a difficult task being like trying to distill amber from sap uite memorable in my opinionOstensibly the plot is about a female crewmember of the “factory ship” found dead in the large fish nets transferred from trawler to the mother ship That event is indeed the Ur strand of a complex web of deceit and counter intrigue Realistically it makes good sense because not everything that seems to be related is related Some are minor plots to beat the system Some are major plots that could have inspired the murder Nothing is really certain until the end It is a very tight mysteryYes I’ll give Gorky Park another chance if I ever find it and yes I’m glad I finally read this one Guess it just goes to show you irrational bias or lack of taste can make you miss something good Maybe this review will cause someone else to reconsider a book they’ve previously blocked out


  9. says:

    The seuel to Gorky Park is entertaining than the originalThe setting aboard a factory fishing ship in the Bering Sea is memorable


  10. says:

    to start off i thought it was marvellous one hardly comes across crime novels of such good uality i bought it because i remembered i had read Gorky Park some years ago and i really liked itthe book follows arkady renko who after some investigation not uite satisfactory to the state works on a soviet factory ship that works together with american boats on a joint venture one day a corpse comes up in the net of one of the factory ship's girls as the only person on board experienced with investigations the captain asks arkady off the slime line to find out as much as he can from there a plot develops that i would not have thought possible on the confines of basically three ships in the middle of the ocean with a limited cast of charactersthe good thing about it it did keep me guessing until the very end which does not happen often it is written very well and its plot is intricate with lots of little bit of information about fishing russia espionage technology and without being preachy or obvious about it great insight into a different way of life in a different time and a sympathetic one for thatfive straightforward stars


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Polar Star [PDF / EPUB] Polar Star In the long awaited seuel to Gorky Park Arkady Renko returns to Russia to work on the Polar Star a huge fishing factory ship When a young girl is murdered Renko is asked to investigate and enters a ca In the long awaited seuel to Gorky Park Arkady Renko returns to Russia to work on the Polar Star a huge fishing factory ship When a young girl is murdered Renko is asked to investigate and enters a case as chilling and gripping as his previous adventure.