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Three Stations (Arkady Renko #7)

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  3,548 Ratings  ·  389 Reviews
A passenger train hurtling through the night. An unwed teenage mother headed to Moscow to seek a new life. A cruel-hearted soldier looking furtively, forcibly, for sex. An infant disappearing without a trace.

So begins Martin Cruz Smith’s masterful Three Stations, a suspenseful, intricately constructed novel featuring Investigator Arkady Renko. For the last three decades, b
Hardcover, 243 pages
Published August 2010 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2010)
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The Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovGorky Park by Martin Cruz SmithWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyWolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz SmithNight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Books set in Moscow
63 books — 25 voters
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
771 books — 854 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 08, 2010 Kemper rated it liked it
Russian cop Arkady Renko has been solving crimes in novels for almost three decades now. When he was introduced during the Cold War in Gorky Park, Renko had to tread carefully because of a communist government that didn’t like to even admit that there were any crimes, let alone appreciate someone being independent enough to actually try and solve them. He‘s been exiled to a Siberian fishing boat, recalled to Moscow during glasnost, witnessed the final gasp of communism, gotten embroiled in plots ...more
Lewis Weinstein
Nov 20, 2014 Lewis Weinstein rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this less than other novels by Martin Cruz Smith. A complicated intermingling of multiple plots and characters requires a firm hand helping the reader along, and this time, Smith did not provide that hand. It only takes a few words to allow the links in the reader's mind to click in, but these were, as least for this reader, not provided. Also, Smith did not encourage me to feel as engaged with Renko the person as much as I had been in previous novels. Overall, there was a surprising a ...more
George Tyson
Dec 19, 2012 George Tyson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spy
Let me begin by admitting my bias: I think that Martin Cruz Smith is one of the best novelists out there today. What has often been said of David Cornwell (a.k.a. John LeCarre)also goes for Martin Cruz Smith: he may write popular fiction but it's also great literature. If you want a sample of what I mean, just read the final page or even just the final line of "Three Stations." (Although it's best if you read the rest of it first.)

"Three Stations" is the latest chapter in the life and career of
Jan 23, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is it just me or there is some deep seated pleasure in reading a book (or for the sake of this comment author) you enjoyed years ago but some how fell out of favour with only to then rediscover? Well that is the case with Martin Cruz Smith and his tales of Arkady Renko.

I remember reading the book Gorky Park years ago and thoroughly enjoying it. At the time I didn't realise how much forensics would catch the public imagination (after all it was the first to popularise the use of reconstruction of
Nov 05, 2010 Richard rated it it was ok
It pains me to give An Arkady Renko Novel a meager two stars, but Martin Cruz Smith has put out a book that falls short of his usual great work. It remains true that Mr. Smith paints a picture of modern Russia that is as disturbing, maybe more disturbing, than Dickens' London. And his characters in their broken heroism are as compelling as ever. Arkady Renko is an existential mess; his partner, is a late stage alcoholic who lurches into functionality, but only just barely, his ward is a highly f ...more
Aug 21, 2010 Matt rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Richard Gazala
Mar 21, 2012 Richard Gazala rated it liked it
"Three Stations" is author Martin Cruz Smith's latest installment featuring Russian prosecutorial investigator Arkady Renko, though it's not the greatest. That honor remains firmly in the grip of Smith's exceptional 1981 thriller "Gorky Park," which first introduced Renko to the literary world. "Three Stations" is the seventh novel in the Renko series. Smith wasn't quite 40 years old when "Gorky Park" came out, and the Soviet Union still had a decade of life left in it. Smith was nearly nearly 7 ...more
Dec 12, 2010 Carl rated it liked it
A weak 3 stars, as it's hard to dislike stories of Arkady Renko and his world. With Gorky Park, Smith set the bar extremely high, and he's managed to come close in subsequent Renko books, giving us a look into Russian society and bureaucracy from the Soviet era through the multiple changes it has gone through since then. Although Renko's character is a bit of a mystery cliche (a brilliant loner who has to fight his government/bureaucracy and solve crimes despite lack of support if not downright ...more
Matthew Iden
Feb 18, 2014 Matthew Iden rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: crime-fiction
Fans of Smith's Arkady Renko series are accustomed to intricate plots, bone-dry wit, and the kind of just-so observations that leave the reader nodding in agreement. Add to that Smith's detailed and immersive portrayals of the seedier side of Soviet/Russian life and you can consider most of the Renko books classics of the genre.

Unfortunately, Three Stations has none of the qualities of the previous Renko books. It lacks the plotting of Gorky Park, the poetry of Red Square, the wire-tight tension
Apr 20, 2012 Kwoomac rated it really liked it
As I haven't read any of the previous Arkady Renko novels, I am not able to rate this is comparison to the others. So, for me, it was interesting, fast-paced, and well-written. Shows the underbelly of current day Moscow. Cool in a depressing kind of way.
Mal Warwick
Jan 02, 2011 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it
Mikhail Gorbachev, who ought to know, recently declared that the regime of Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev is hard to distinguish from the old Communist regime because both are grounded in authoritarianism. Arkady Renko, the investigator hero of Martin Cruz Smith’s successful series of novels about crime and punishment, first in the USSR and now in Russia, would surely agree.

For nearly 30 years, Renko has plumbed the depths of Russia’s deepest and darkest recesses in search of justice and fou
Sep 15, 2010 Maddy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-reads
SERIES: #7 of 7

Arkady Renko hasn’t won any popularity contests with the administration of the prosecutor’s office; at the moment, he is on the verge of suspension or dismissal as a result of his unwillingness to conform to their expectations. He’s keeping a low profile. Unable to disengage himself from the type of work that he’s done for so long, he’s unofficially “assisting” an alcoholic sergeant detective, Victor Orlov. Of course, the assista
Gerald Sinstadt
Feb 14, 2014 Gerald Sinstadt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
This is the immediate predecessor to Tatiana. The journalist, Anya, p;ays a part. So does Viktpr whenever Arkady can keep him sober long enough. And there is a major role for Zhenya, the teenage chess playing hustler.

The locale is Moscow's underbelly where the criminal classes and the impoverished homeless converge. But there are also excursions into the billionaire oligarch milieu. Cruz Smith is equally at home with both.

The search for a stolen baby provides the spine of the tale which is often
Feb 01, 2011 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-russia
This didn't have all the suspense of Gorky Park but it was a quick and interesting read. The despair, paranoia, and indifference of day to day life in Russia shout from the pages. Arkady is in hot water again with his venal boss, Zurin. The professional critics who were disappointed in this book are not to be believed. This is still a good book. The critics didn't like the plot line about the missing baby and considered it a distraction from the main plot of a serial killer. Not true in my book. ...more
Sep 24, 2015 Lobstergirl rated it it was ok
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: DeShawn Shead

Who knows if Smith was battling a case of hemorrhoids when he wrote this, or maybe a months-long migraine, but this one was duller than the previous six. Also the typeface in the hardback is enormous, so the word count is smaller. Renko himself seemed bored searching for a serial killer of prostitutes, and the teen chess prodigy Zhenya, whom Smith inserts into the novels for his Aspergerian charm, was unable to elevate Three Stations from its dregs. When a killer finally arrived in the last page
Jun 11, 2011 Ed rated it really liked it
Investigator Arkady Renko in Putin's Russia battles the foes within his corrupt police department as well as the criminal elements outside in the decadent Three Stations enclave of Moscow. At times, Renko recalls his late father, a vain general in the old army. Other times, he rues his lost romances. But through it all, he remains tenacious and relentless in his pursuit of a prostitute's killer. We're given a behind-the-scenes view of Russian society, high and low, at least as it's filtered thro ...more
Ruth Downie
May 09, 2012 Ruth Downie rated it it was amazing
I can't write a sensible review of this book because I just love Renko. Here we see him in the new Moscow, but facing the old problems of corruption, crime and murder with his usual unassuming determination and a delicious sense of irony.
Fredrick Danysh
Nov 14, 2015 Fredrick Danysh rated it liked it
In this Arkady Renko mystery a baby disappears in a Moscow train station. The poor mother seeks his assistance and Renko deals with corruption and murder in Russia.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jim B
Mar 07, 2017 Jim B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, suspense
I had forgotten how much I enjoy an Arkady Renko mystery. I do not reread very many books (life is short) but I've read Gorky Park and Polar Star and enjoyed them in the rereading. Unlike the books that take place in a dystopia (I've never been a fan), Arkady Renko is dystopia itself: always being prevented from investigation by a dysfunctional Soviet / Russian police system.

I enjoy how Martin Cruz Smith tells a tale. Many details become the strands of a story and just when you think a mystery i
The mean streets of Moscow have never appeared meaner than in this latest of the Arkady Renko mysteries. Beset with organized crime, desperate immigrants from the far reaches of the country, abandoned or runaway children, and, presiding over it all, a bureaucracy that does its best to see and hear no evil. Arkady is a part of the bureaucracy, but a very inconvenient part. He does see and hear evil and he speaks it, too. He insists that very bad things are happening in Moscow and that they need t ...more
Aug 28, 2010 Tony rated it liked it
Smith, Martin Cruz. THREE STATIONS. (2010). ***. There are two separate plots going on in this novel by Cruz, both involving Inspector Arkady Renko. In the first, a young woman is found dead in a trailer outside one of the three railway stations called Three Stations by Muscovites. She is naked from the waist down and has been what Renko perceives as “posed.” There is no obvious evidence of foul play, but Renko has a hunch. He has an autopsy performed by a retired friend of his and they smell et ...more
Rossrn Nunamaker
I've been an avid reader of the Arkady Renko series and it is hands-down my favorite. Each book poignantly depicts the gritty life of Russians, whether they were under the banner of the Soviet Union or Russia.

To see a new book was released in the series this year, I was anxious to read it. Having read it, I was let down. If it weren't for the characters this would have fallen to a 2 star rating.

The story is set in Moscow. Renko is single. He continues to be a ward for Zhenya, who lives more on t
Jennifer (JC-S)
Sep 18, 2010 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it liked it
Shelves: librarybooks
‘Life is unfair. Why should death be any different?’

This is the seventh novel to feature Arkady Renko, a series which began in 1981 with ‘Gorky Park’. Renko was a young officer on the way up in ‘Gorky Park’, in ‘Three Stations’ he is on the way down. Technically, Renko has been suspended from the prosecutor’s office and is about to be forced out by superiors uncomfortable with the way in which he continues to inconveniently solve cases and bring the guilty to account.

The novel opens with Maya, a
Eric Hines
Nov 25, 2011 Eric Hines rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction, russia
Arkady Renko may be my favorite fictional detective. Wry, long-suffering, stubborn, quietly principled, philosophical, observant, hesitant, a bit of a schlemiel. And the late/former Soviet Union has been an excellent setting to let his sensibility play out. [return][return]This latest installment in his series is welcome and is an enjoyable read, but in some ways is sad for a fan of Renko's. Like all things on this earth, detective series are mortal and the signs of decay are pretty apparent in ...more
Michael Martz
Jul 04, 2014 Michael Martz rated it really liked it
Three Stations is another police procedural set in Moscow starring the remarkable investigator Arkady Renko. He's remarkable for a number of reasons; competence, brilliance, non-linear thinking, but most importantly because he's almost always in trouble with his higher-ups, which in Russia can be a very bad thing. Without getting into the details, there were a couple key sub-plots that were tied off very satisfactorily at the end, and Arkady lives to investigate another day.

The first Arkady Renk
Oct 21, 2010 SlowRain rated it it was ok
This one was a bit of a departure from the other Renko novels. This time, the mystery Arkady is investigating doesn't lead to an in-depth discussion of Russia, nor is it the grand conspiracy that has been the hallmark of the others in the series. Also, the story is split between what Arkady is investigating and what his chess-genius, semi-adopted son, Zhenya, is doing: helping a 15-year-old mother find her missing baby. It's this secondary plot that provides the glimpse into Russian society--tha ...more
Apr 06, 2013 Ware rated it liked it
When Arkady Renko had to deal with the entrenched and corrupt Soviet state, he was a most brilliant and sympathetic detective. Now in the brave new Russia, there are still corrupt officials but they are joined by a new class, the Russian oligarchs who have gathered most of the nation's wealth only to find that the state officials still crave the power and wealth of the old nomenklatura. So these two groups fight for control of the economy while mere detectives are kept at a distance.

Arkady has n
May 09, 2011 J.P. rated it really liked it
This is the 7th book to feature Arkady Renko and he continues to be one of my favorite fictional detectives. He’s growing older gracefully and still has his sarcastic wit. He’s also acquired a vodka drenched but knowledgeable sidekick who is a welcome addition.
The story begins with the kidnapping of a prostitute’s baby and snowballs from there as Arkady winds up tracking down a serial killer.
As always, the best part of the books in this series deal with the gritty backstreets and alleys of Mosco
I am not a fan of novels set outside the US yet I really enjoy Smith's Renko novels. Perhaps it is because Russian culture is so very different from ours.

Renko, as always, is the odd man out here, fighting the ponderous Russian bureaucracy and locking horns with superiors who only care about their own careers, as he investigates the case of a murdered prostitute he's been ordered to drop.

Complicating matters are a prostitute who ran away from a brothel, goons sent to bring her back, a missing ba
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The Renko stories are great 19 28 Feb 08, 2013 01:03PM  
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AKA Simon Quinn, Nick Carter.

Martin Cruz Smith (born Martin William Smith), American novelist, received his BA in Creative Writing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. He worked as a journalist from 1965 to 1969 before turning his hand to fiction. His first mystery (Gypsy in Amber – 1971) features NY gypsy art dealer Roman Grey and was nominated for an Edgar Award. Nightwing was his breakt
More about Martin Cruz Smith...

Other Books in the Series

Arkady Renko (8 books)
  • Gorky Park (Arkady Renko, #1)
  • Polar Star (Arkady Renko, #2)
  • Red Square (Arkady Renko, #3)
  • Havana Bay (Arkady Renko, #4)
  • Wolves Eat Dogs (Arkady Renko, #5)
  • Stalin's Ghost (Arkady Renko, #6)
  • Tatiana (Arkady Renko, #8)

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