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Wolves Eat Dogs
Martin Cruz Smith
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Wolves Eat Dogs (Arkady Renko #5)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  4,037 Ratings  ·  273 Reviews
In Wolves Eat Dogs, Renko returns for his most enigmatic and baffling case: the death of one of Russia's new billionaires, which leads him to Chernobyl and the Zone of Exclusion -- closed to the world since 1986's nuclear disaster. It is still aglow with radioactivity, now inhabited only by the militia, shady scavengers, a few reckless scientists, and some elderly peasants ...more
Audio CD
Published December 1st 2004 by Recorded Books (first published 2004)
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Mal Warwick
Feb 03, 2014 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Over the years, I made two trips to the Soviet Union. The first time was in 1965, in the course of a four-month knockabout through the USSR, Eastern and Central Europe, and Scandinavia before my Peace Corps service started. (That was the trip during which I was threatened by East German Vopos (Volkspolizei) at Hitler’s bunker and briefly confined under gunpoint in a Romanian secret prison.) My second, less harrowing trip, came in 1989 as a member of a delegation organized by one of my nonprofit ...more
As the story opens it's 2004 and the Soviet Union has dissolved into separate states. Some savvy former physicists have taken advantage of the chaos to become multi-millionaires and Arkady Renko - determined as always - is still a police investigator in Moscow.

One of the nouveau millionaires, Pasha Ivanov - head of NoviRus Security - has (apparently) jumped to his death from his 10-story Moscow apartment after exhibiting increasingly peculiar behavior. Renko insists on looking into Ivanov's dem
Dec 01, 2009 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of nuclear history, Arkady Renko, or Gorky Park
I find detective novels, especially mysteries, a tough genre to review. On the one hand, you want to avoid spoilers so as not to spoil the fun. On the other, you still want to provide enough information to give prospective readers a reasonable sense of what to expect. I think there are no spoilers here, but then I think it's always fair game to identify the book's protagonist, setting, style (tone), principal plot (that is, what the detective is originally instructed to solve), and my overall im ...more
Jul 15, 2008 bannikin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cruz Smith has a way with words. A very heady, intoxicating way. As a matter of fact he's having his way with me right now.

I'm reading the gritty yet dream-like Wolves Eat Dogs. It's unlike other crime fiction on the market. Too many books in this genre fall prey to "galloping gore". Thrillers that provide a series of ever-escalating shocks all the while ratcheting up the pace. So much rush-rush designed to obscure the truly bad writing. I mostly avoid those shelves at the bookshop.

But I was stu
Davor Petričević

Prvi izlet u stvaralaštvo Martina Cruza Smitha donio je sa sobom podijeljene reakcije s moje strane. Smještaj intrige u postkomunističku zemlju dvadesetak godina nakon stravične nesreće u Černobilu je fantastično pogođen. Strahota koja je zadesila to područje i način preživljavanju u radioaktivnom području je sjajno opisan i zaista čitatelja navodi na detaljnije proučavanje nesreće i na taj dio nemam zamjerke, ali kad se radi o samoj radnji tu već postoje ozbiljni
Aug 14, 2008 Carla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like good writing
Shelves: best-writing
I'm a Martin Cruz Smith fan. He doesn't fit easily into categories. Yes, his books are mysteries, in the sense there's a crime, but they're literature because they examine universal human longings, motives, desires, those of the detective as well as the people he meets on his way to solving the crime.
Wolves eats dogs explores the blasted landscape of the exclusion zone around Chernoble, where people not only are still living, but they are surprisingly populous. There are scientists and old peopl
Rossrn Nunamaker
Wolves Eat Dogs is the fifth Arkady Renko novel by Martin Cruz Smith.

In Wolves Eat Dogs, a new Russian Billionaire is found dead having plunged from the window of his apartment. On the scene it is quickly confirmed to be a suicide - no investigation required. Renko's observations and questions quickly point out that there are enough oddities to merit some investigation and from the get go Renko is once again not quite following orders.

New in this novel is Zhenya, a boy from an orphanage that Ark
Jan 11, 2014 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Martin Cruz Smith's novels are so filled with darkness it is always with great effort that I read them. And yet I have been captivated by his depressed Russian sleuth Arkady Renko ever since "Gorky Park". So it stands to reason that I'd put myself through another of Cruz's dense, convoluted, heart-wrenchingly bleak accounts of Renko's doings.

"Wolves Eat Dogs" is set in the still-glowing horror of post-meltdown Chernobyl where Renko investigates the murder of a prominent "New Russian" that closel
Feb 05, 2010 Lois rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Splendid. I read Gorky Park, but not the two (three?) between that and this. I remember liking Gorky Park, and Wolves Eat Dogs reminds me why. Low-key, pessimistic Arkady Renko is a great character -- and the addition of a boy from an orphanage that Renko takes out once a week gives us more facets of Renko to appreciate. (Yes, that was a really bad sentence I just wrote.) I love Renko's dogged and constant asking of questions. And Martin Cruz Smith populates the book with secondary characters wo ...more

Renko treks to Chernobyl to figure out why a Russian oligarch jumped to his death in Moscow, tries to make friends with an 11-year-old orphan boy who never speaks, and gets himself a toughass Chernobyl girlfriend. Thumbs up on Zhenya (the mute), thumbs down on Eva. I often don't get Renko's girlfriends.
After I read Voices From Chernobyl, someone told me about Wolves Eat Dogs. I am glad I read it because it makes a good companion piece to the other book. On the other hand, if I hadn't read Voices first, I would have been seriously lost.

Because Smith's book is a political/crime thriller, the pace is fast, the brutality is frequent, and the plot is thick. But he does address the Soviet government corruption and cover up of the nuclear meltdown as well as that of the Russian mafia after the fall
Ed Mestre
Jan 07, 2012 Ed Mestre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another in the Arkady Renko mysteries who first appeared in Gorky Park. Much has changed in Russia since the Gorky Park days. For one the Soviet Union has broken apart. For him to go to Chernobyl in the Ukraine he must now travel to another country. The new economy has created billionaires & the disparity the October revolution sought to eliminate. For example while still in Moscow he spots a billboard advertisement where there used to be Communist propaganda. He describes it like on a stree ...more
I really enjoyed this one from start to finish.

“Smith's first Arkady Renko novel, Gorky Park, became a best seller because it offered American readers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a world closed off to them. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, it would seem that Smith had nothing left to write about. But as he proved with Red Square and Havana Bay, the new Russia offers a rich source of material (and crimes). This time cynical but honest senior investigator Renko must deter
Aug 13, 2009 Pturingan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
I've read all the Arkady Renko books and I have to say that this (along with Polar Star) has got to be my favorite. I'm a big fan of the Arkady Renko character although I never thought that I would be at first. I thought I would get tired of an endlessly pessimistic, self-defeatist character like Renko but he just keeps getting better every time. I love the fact that he always expects the worst, never expects to win, seems to have a death wish, and yet always solves the case in the end. I also l ...more
A very good listen. Arkady Renko was as fascinating as ever and the plot, which revolved around "New Russians" who have made a killing with capitalism and site of the Chernobyl disaster, was both interesting and suspenseful. Listened to the audio version which was ably narrated by Henry Strozier.
Oct 20, 2012 Melinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm a fan of MCS and the Arkady Renko series. Smith is an adroitly intelligent writer, one who makes you feel as though you're hearing the story from someone who has lived all his life in the USSR/Russia and someone who knows where all the bodies are buried. I found the background on Chernobyl horrifying and fascinating, and I liked the spiked humor in the relationship between Renko and the silent child he fitfully attempts to mentor. This is the thinking reader's character-driven procedural nov ...more
I appreciate the setting, the characters, and the tale. The bulk of this book is set in the Ukraine and deals with the impact of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power disaster on people's lives in the small towns near the accident. Assigning blame for the accident becomes part of the tale. A subtext is Arkady Renko's experience with a young boy abandoned in Moscow by his father.
Nov 13, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, russia
Renko tackles fallout in this one, both of the literal and emotional kind, with powerful results. I'll say, though, that I heartily recommend Atlas Obscura as a companion piece to this one - the link will take you to photos of this book's setting, and the site more broadly is pretty cool too.
Ted Cross
Oct 26, 2014 Ted Cross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love the Arkady Renko books. I hadn't realized there are eight of them now, so I decided to re-read the entire series (though out of order since some of them haven't arrived in the mail yet). Arkady never changes, or at least if he does it is only in tiny ways. And that's part of what I like about him. He's a morose, hangdog, gloomy guy, but he's the one truly honest man in Russia and he lets nothing stop him, regardless of the odds stacked against him, from resolving his cases.

Part of
Jan 28, 2011 Kelanth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spionaggio
Certo non siamo più ai fasti di Gorky Park e neanche di Stella Polare, ma l'ho preferito al mediocre Havana. Torna Arkady Renko, il mio investigatore preferito, è ancora cinico, a modo suo sovversivo, brillante e malinconico. la società intorno a lui è completamente cambiata rispetto alla vecchia URSS, e questo è certamente un bene, ma Renko non riesce ad adattarsi alla nuova Russia, nella quale dilagano la segretezza, la corruzione e la violenza proprio come ai vecchi tempi. I casi del detectiv ...more
I surprised myself by being really engaged in it. I don’t usually read detective stories or thrillers, but the setting really sucked me in into this one. A big part of the story is set in contemporary Chernobyl- the site of the 1986 nuclear power plant disaster, or more precisely in the Zone of Exclusion, which is bigger than Chernobyl itself, abandoned and guarded by militia. Due to still exorbitantly high radiation levels the place is inhabited only by a handful of scientists, crooks and a cou ...more
Hugh Ashton
Mar 18, 2013 Hugh Ashton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I prefer Polar Star and Red Square by the same author, but that doesn't mean to say this is bad, by any stretch of the imagination.

Renko is an interesting enough character, but I think I preferred him as a rebel against the CPSU, rather than against Putin's New Russia. Although he is in different surroundings, I am not convinced he has changed much from the investigator of the last years of the USSR. The motives of a couple of the villains are a little unclear, as well.

The part of the book with

Dean Hamilton
Nov 04, 2012 Dean Hamilton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cynical, melancholy Moscow special investigator Arkardy Renko has a serious problem. One of Moscow's newly minted billionaires has taken a fatal plunge off of a twenty-story condominium - suicide or murder? As Renko dryly observes "We prefer suicides. Suicides don't demand work, or drive up the crime rate."

In his fifth book featuring his laconic, down-trodden detective, Martin Cruz Smith is at the top of his game. Wolves Eat Dogs takes Renko, filling his role as Moscow's most dogged and quixotic
James K Beach
Jan 23, 2016 James K Beach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Usually the "crime-novel" format (with a reoccurring protagonist) falls into the realm of "pulp fiction," but Martin Cruz Smith's excellent novel WOLVES EAT DOGS somehow defies that genre. His satire is also considered realism; either way, this book is in the literary genre. With well-defined characters and an understated but compelling plot, WOLVES EAT DOGS should keep any intelligent person intrigued and entertained. The subtext of course remains interpretive. As for plot, this novel follows s ...more
Apr 08, 2015 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worth reading if for no other reason than the chilling,unearthly portrayal of post-meltdown Chernobyl.Cruz-Smith is a terse,clever crime writer and this is a solid mystery.What resonates most is the unarguably bleak reality of those who live and work in the "Zone", the town of Pryiapat,evacuated in mid-day., by the disastrous release of radioactivity at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.Some families chose to stay and some scientists rotate in and out of the area to study the effects of the exposure ...more
Sep 13, 2014 Leonard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book recording up at the library because I had heard of Martin Cruz Smith, but had never read any of his books. I glanced at the back of the container and read the investigation of what appears to be a suicide leads the detective to the Zone of Exclusion, the area around the abandoned nuclear power plant, Chernobyl. I was hooked because I find that place very interesting and had yet to read any fiction based there.

I was not disappointed. The police detective, Arkady Renko, who app
Wolves eat dogs the title say, but the book reveals that dogs eat wolves, from time to time. In fact there is wholesale destruction in this novel set in Moscow and primarily in the region of of the epic Soviet nuclear disaster. The story begins with a death possibly by suicide but further investigation reveals that Chernobyl played a role in the death and that of many others by story's end. And then there are the walking deaths of those who stubbornly cling to life in the radioactive region, not ...more
Karl Jorgenson
Aug 15, 2016 Karl Jorgenson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
MC Smith is a fabulous writer. His simile and detail put you in the scene like no other. Here, we see more of Putin's Moscow, and then a real treat: Chernobyl, the bizarre, back-to-nature zone of exclusion where entrepreneurs profit selling radioactive materials through bribed sentries. Arkady Renko, the last honest cop in Russia, stumbles doggedly through the investigation of a billionaire's suicide that doesn't seem right. Great fun, good mystery, and characters that illuminate a society of ha ...more
Liz Mandeville
Apr 01, 2015 Liz Mandeville rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the great things about long car trips, you can catch up on your reading! I love books on disc and after the band and I devoured December 6th (same author) I found "Wolves Eat Dogs" at the Road Pilot and we dove in.

This is my third Arkedy Renko story and I've gotten as familiar with the grey, frigid, corrupt, vodka soaked lives of Moskow's finest as I have with the wonderful, mid-century modern Fort Lauderdale of my beloved Travis McGee, (Plymouth's Gin and Tuborg Malt Liquor for Florida'
Gregg Bell
Nov 15, 2013 Gregg Bell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, the cold war over, you think Cruz is out of stuff to write about. Un-uh! This book takes you into the heart of the confusion that is Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union. It takes place on the land where the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred. Fantastic writing, compelling story and by the time you're done, you'll look and see your skin glowing a little from the radiation you absorbed while reading. :) Cruz happens to write in genre but he is just a great writer.
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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)
  • Stalin's Ghost (Arkady Renko, #6)
  • Three Stations (Arkady Renko, #7)
  • Tatiana (Arkady Renko, #8)

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“Wolves eat dogs." That did seem to be the consensus of the village, Arkady thought. Roman shook his head as if he'd given the matter a lot of consideration. "Wolves hate dogs. Wolves hunt down dogs because they regard them as traitors. If you think about it, dogs are dogs only because of humans; otherwise they'd all be wolves, right? And where will we be when all the dogs are gone? It will be the end of civilization.” 1 likes
“... I used to have a big dog, a rottweiler, to guard the place. One night I was working late, and he was outside barking in the snow. He wouldn't stop. Then he stopped. I went out ten minutes later with a lamp, and there was a ring of wolves eating my dog.” 0 likes
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