Tatiana by Martin Cruz Smith
An Arkady Renko Novel

85%

11 Critic Reviews

It would be a treat to watch the evening news with Martin Cruz Smith’s fabulist’s eye and see current events colorized through Renko’s dramatic filter. In “Tatiana,” Smith continues the tradition he began at the end of the Brezhnev era with “Gorky Park,” using Russia as his game board to make geopolitical conspiracy, well . . . fun.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Martin Cruz Smith's “masterful” (USA TODAY) and “irresistible” (People) New York Times bestseller and Washington Post notable book of the year: Arkady Renko must connect the dots among a Russian journalist’s mysterious death, corrupt politicians, murderous gangsters, and brazen bureaucrats.

Arkady Renko, one of the iconic investigators of contemporary fiction, has survived the cultural journey from the Soviet Union to the New Russia, only to find the nation as obsessed with secrecy and brutality as was the old Communist dictatorship. In Tatiana, the melancholy hero unravels a mystery as complex and dangerous as modern Russia itself.

The reporter Tatiana Petrovna falls to her death from a sixth-floor window in Moscow the same week that a mob billionaire is shot and buried with the trappings due a lord. The trail leads to Kaliningrad, a Cold War “secret city” that is separated by hundreds of miles from the rest of Russia. The more Arkady delves into Tatiana’s past, the more she leads him into a surreal world of wandering sand dunes, abandoned children, and a notebook written in the personal code of a dead translator. Finally, in a lethal race to uncover what the translator knew, Renko makes a startling discovery that draws him still deeper into Tatiana’s past—and, paradoxically, into Russia’s future, where bulletproof cars, poets, corruption of the Baltic Fleet, and a butcher for hire combine to give Kaliningrad the “distinction” of having the highest crime rate in Russia.

More than a mystery, Tatiana is Martin Cruz Smith’s most ambitious and politically daring novel since Gorky Park. It is a story rich in character, black humor, and romance, with an insight that is the hallmark of a writer The New York Times has called “endlessly entertaining and deeply serious…[not merely] our best writer of suspense, but of one of our best writers, period.”
 

About Martin Cruz Smith

See more books from this Author
Martin Cruz Smith’s novels include Stalin’s Ghost, Gorky Park, Rose, December 6, Polar Star, and Stallion Gate. A two-time winner of the Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers and a recipient of Britain’s Golden Dagger Award, he lives in California.
 
Published November 12, 2013 by Simon & Schuster. 305 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Nature & Wildlife, Crime, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Dec 01 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Tatiana
All: 11 | Positive: 11 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Apr 14 2013

Anyone who enjoys crime novels but hasn’t read Smith is in for a treat. Read this book, then look for other Arkady Renko adventures.

Read Full Review of Tatiana: An Arkady Renko Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Sep 09 2013

While Petrovna may be a candidate for sainthood (she’s evidently modeled on real-life reporter Anna Politkovskaya), the most intriguing “character” after Renko is contemporary Russia—freer than it was at the height of the cold war, but at least as corrupt and vastly more unequal—into which Smith offers many insights.

Read Full Review of Tatiana: An Arkady Renko Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Liesl Schillinger on Nov 15 2013

It would be a treat to watch the evening news with Martin Cruz Smith’s fabulist’s eye and see current events colorized through Renko’s dramatic filter. In “Tatiana,” Smith continues the tradition he began at the end of the Brezhnev era with “Gorky Park,” using Russia as his game board to make geopolitical conspiracy, well . . . fun.

Read Full Review of Tatiana: An Arkady Renko Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Roz Shea on Nov 15 2013

A great book is one you remember in stark detail, tell others about and selfishly stash on your bookshelf. That’s where you’ll find my favorite Martin Cruz Smith novels, and TATIANA certainly falls into this category.

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The Washington Post

Good
Reviewed by Bill Sheehan on Nov 10 2013

...“Tatiana” showcases Smith’s ability to convey the frustrating, frequently absurd nature of daily life in a fractured, tragic and traumatized country.

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The Independent

Above average
Reviewed by Sean O'Brien on Nov 23 2013

The whole thing is at once grim and funny and beautifully done. While there is Renko there is hope, if you look very hard.

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St. Louis Today

Above average
Reviewed by Harry Levins on Nov 16 2013

...Smith’s plot grows complicated enough to leave many readers scratching their heads. Even so, Renko’s character — phlegmatic, insightful and honest to the core — will keep his fans plugging on.

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Crime Fiction Lover

Good
Reviewed by CRIMEFICTIONLOVER on Nov 06 2013

You’ll be caught up in the motion of his quest, perhaps even flicking back a few pages now and again to check that what you think just happened actually did, then racing forward again to read on. Spasiba, Mr Smith, your prose is as lucid as ever.

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Thinking About Books

Good
Reviewed by David Marshall on May 13 2014

In every way this is a delightfully dark book. Although almost everyone apart from Renko is incompetent or corrupt or a criminal, we know truth will be a shield. The fact this particular corruption is on an epic scale actually means some unexpected moments of humour emerge as we leave Moscow behind in our search for amber (that’s Russian for gold).

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Yahoo! Voices

Good
Reviewed by Joyce V Harrison on Nov 18 2013

...I'm a fan of Smith's writing. In Tatiana, I marveled, once more, at the intricacy of his plot and the interesting imagery that he peppers throughout the book without interrupting the forward motion of the action.

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Marilyn's Musings

Good
Reviewed by Marilyn Meredith on Nov 21 2013

Both fascinating and gritty, Tatiana kept me turning pages and I felt like I was getting an insider’s peek into a country I know little about.

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Reader Rating for Tatiana
75%

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