Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Stalin's Ghost (Arkady Renko, #6)” as Want to Read:
Stalin's Ghost (Arkady Renko, #6)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Stalin's Ghost (Arkady Renko #6)

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  3,603 Ratings  ·  332 Reviews
Investigator Arkady Renko, the pariah of the Moscow prosecutor's office, has been assigned the thankless job of investigating a new phenomenon: late-night subway riders report seeing the ghost of Joseph Stalin on the platform of the Chistye Prudy Metro station. The illusion seems part political hocus-pocus and also part wishful thinking, for among many Russians Stalin is a ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published June 12th 2007 by Simon Schuster (first published 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Stalin's Ghost, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Stalin's Ghost

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Lewis Weinstein
Abe March said "good, but not great." I agree. It took a long time for the separate threads to make any sense at all, and when they did, there was never a real engaging drama. The characters were not developed enough to make me care about them.

The plot, however, was good enough to pull me along and the description of the chess match was superb.
Jun 03, 2016 nikos rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
Ενώ απο την μια έχουμε μια ρεαλιστική και επίκαιρη ματιά στην σύγχρονη Ρωσία(αλκοολισμός,εγληματικοτητα.πολιτικη διαφθορά,νεοπλουτισμος,φτώχεια,νεοναζί και χούλιγκαν)απο την άλλη η πλοκή παρουσιάζει πολλα προβλήματα συνοχής σε σημείο ασυναρτησίας, που κανει το βιβλιο κουραστικό και αδιαφορο. Οσο για τον ρεβιζιονιστή αντεπαναστατη συγγραφέα ,ενα εχω να πω:

Ζήτω ο Λένιν, ζήτω ο Στάλιν
Ζήτω ο κόκκινος στρατός
Ζήτω το σφυρί δρεπάνι
Ζήτω κι ο κομμουνισμός

This is an erudite and heartbreaking read, it captures the state of Russia in recent times. The horror, poverty and corruption experienced by the Russians has led many to feel nostalgia and longing for a past which they view with rose tinted glasses. To be more specific, there is idolisation of the terrible dictator Stalin, or more precisely a world people feel more familiar with and which they feel did not rip them off on a colossal scale. In the novel, Renko is pushed to investigate the sighti ...more
Oct 23, 2010 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was looking at the books Smith has written, I was surprised to see that I've actually read all of the Renko novels. I've liked all of the books, but have not been wild about them (well, except for Gorky Park, which I would rate 5 stars). For some reason, I just don't like the way Smith closes his novels, it always seems rushed, and Stalin's Ghost is no different. And yet, I think Renko is one of the remarkable characters I've run across in all of fiction. What a dilemma! 5 stars for the c ...more
Oct 21, 2009 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read the Arkady Renko series, I have to say, that Stalin's Ghost was not my favorite. It wasn't bad, but for me not the best. Arkady is again back in Moscow, delving into a case that isn't his own, against the advice of his partner, love interest and boss. What happens is a trail that continually leads back to two detectives Isakov and Urman. Is Arkady interested because he wants justice or because his girlfriend is cheating on him with Isakov? This story cleverly interweaves WWII Russian ...more
Jan 12, 2012 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Arkady Renko series from Martin Cruz Smith has to be the most chronologically dispersed series I have ever seen. It began with Gorky Park in 1981 and has continued up to 2010 with Three Stations, and in those 30 intervening years there have been only seven novels total. But true to the old adage, “good things come to those that wait,” fans of Martin Cruz Smith and Arkady Renko have been well rewarded over the years. These things are good. To be more precise, the one installment I’ve read is ...more
Dec 08, 2009 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Renko, Gorky Park, detective fiction, Russia, Soviet history
"Renko can't do anything," Urman reassured Pacheco. "He's hiding from the prosecutor here and disowned by the prosecutor in Moscow. Besides, he's a dead man." (p. 267)

This pretty much sums up the entirety of what *I* would call the sixth and best book of the Renko series (Gorky Park) to date, and in my estimation, that's saying something. The theme of Stalin's Ghost is the unwelcome surprise our exhumation of the past can entail, a theme borne out casually throughout a book in which the game of
Perry Whitford
Policemen carrying out paid hits, a chess grandmaster receiving threatening phone calls and a report of sightings of Stalin's ghost in the Moscow underground: within 50 pages Cruz Smith, writing his sixth outing for the Moscow detective, establishes a classic triangle of mysteries for Renko to solve, which you just know will put him in danger from all sides.

You also know that the plot will some how manage to involve his current lover (Eva) and that all the events will turn out to be connected to
Sep 27, 2012 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: who-done-it
Having never read any of the Renko books before and familiar with the character only from the movie Gorky Park, I have to say I’m impressed. Stalin’s Ghost is a terrific read (some plot contrivances aside), full of wry, dark humor as it offers a grim portrait of Russia.
Horace Derwent
It is much to be regretted that we could not meet earlier, Mr Cruz Smith
M.H. Vesseur
Nov 15, 2013 M.H. Vesseur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"How did you and the investigator meet?"
"At Chernobyl."
This piece of dialogue from "Stalin's Ghost" is a fine example of how Martin Cruz Smith tells his Arkady Renko stories: he never skips an opportunity to add some acid to the backdrop and then pour some sarcasm over it. Perhaps by now, way into the 21st century, we have grown accustomed to sarcasm in the media, it having become a way of life, but Smith still has an exceptional talent for creating bitter concoctions - however, it al
Feb 02, 2014 Leftbanker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-gangsters
Here are just a few moments at the beginning of the novel that made me laugh or smile in admiration at the skill of the author.

A woman is trying to contract the killing of her husband and offers a warning to the would-be assassins:
“He’s very strong,” she said.
“No, he’ll just be heavy,” Victor assured her.

A mass grave has been discovered beneath the courthouse in Moscow:
“Gleb asked, “What if the grave runs under the entire court?”
“That’s always the problem, isn’t it? Once you start digging, when
Marina Maidou
Jun 01, 2015 Marina Maidou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This writer I read first time in his Wolves Eat Dogs, without to forget the Gorky Park, which I only saw as a film (where I found it wonderful and I think that William Hurt was the ideal Renko)and never read it.
What is so strange is why I like this series of Renko. Soviet Union? Corruption? A detective story with no good end? Maybe that I like, is the fact that this writer, without living there or having in any way origin from Russia (as other writers as Paullina Simons and Kate Fernival) he ca
Christian Scala
Jan 05, 2011 Christian Scala rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Dopo una parentesi nella zona proibita di Chernobyl, Renko torna ad investigare a Mosca. Per chi non lo sapesse Arkady Renko è un ispettore di Mosca, figura triste e solitaria narrata nei primi (e più famosi) libri di Smith in "Gorky Park" o "Stella Polare", quando ancora c'era la cortina di ferro.

Solita costruzione magistrale della trama, ben costruiti i personaggi che erano presenti anche nel precedente libro (Lupo Mangia Cane) e sempre ottimo il personaggio principale che con la sua malinconi
May 05, 2012 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
Moscow Inspector Arkady Renko, who made his first appearance more than twenty years ago in Gorky Park, has lived through all the political since the fall of communism. Sadly, Renko's current Russia is every bit as bleak as his old one. Understandably, Renko is not a happy man. In Stalin's Ghost, the sixth Renko novel, riders on Moscow's Metro are convinced that the ghost of Stalin, still a hero and savior in the eyes of many, has been making appearances in the station he once visited while alive ...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Mar 09, 2015 Gerald Sinstadt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
In Arkady Renko, Martin Cruz Smith has created a character with genuine depth and an adorable sense of deadpan humour. Thereafter, the author's researches enable him to place Renko in a very plausibly realistic environment, peopled by other vividly drawn characters - the chess prodigy Zhenya, the alcoholic detective Victor Orlov and, in this book, a wonderfully bumbling chess grand master.

Stalin's Ghost portrays a Russia hankering for the return of some features of the bad old days. There is pol
Feb 08, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Martin Cruz Smith's series protagonist, Russian detective Arkady Renko, has a new assignment: investigate strange late-night sightings of former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin on the Moscow subway. To complicate matters, a wealthy woman tries to hire Arkady to kill her husband.

With Arkady, there's usually a love interest gone awry. This time his lover, Eva, has left him for another detective, Nikolai, a war veteran. In increasingly complex ways, these plot threads intersect. Arkady is banished f
May 14, 2009 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Years ago I read and liked Gorky Park (I think I traveled to Russia at about that time) but I haven't returned to this author since then. Stalin's Ghost features the same lead character--very reticent but also engaging--and is set in more-or-less contemporary Russia, so it was interesting to see the same character in a very different setting. As the title suggests, the story focuses on a conflict between old and new values. A quick read and I liked it, but not recommended for reading 10 pages a ...more
Jun 20, 2015 Lena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't feel much like a mystery/detective model but I liked it much because of its political and historical background. I don't know much about Russia or about Chechen-Russian conflict so all this information was very interesting to me. I also enjoyed the characters, especially Renko, Zenko, Eva and their complex relationship.My favorite parts were the one where Renko is shot in the head and the one with the Red and the Black Diggers.
Although I enjoyed this book, I felt it lacked depth. I think that's the best way to describe the feeling it gave me. I think if the characters were developed more it would give a more concrete feeling.
Lisa Hayden Espenschade
Jun 29, 2009 Lisa Hayden Espenschade rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with a few hours to kill, diehard Renko fans
Recommended to Lisa by: library book sale purchase
Martin Cruz Smith forces so many historical themes, plot turns, and cardboard characters into Stalin's Ghost that the book is both confusing and a little tedious. Though there is some evocative and/or witty description, the book is a weak effort.
Jul 07, 2014 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened
What happens to a series when it goes on for too long. Filler (2 dream/near death sequences?) and trying to write an ending and having a hard time doing it.

Listened to as an abridged audio book.
May 22, 2017 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Martin Cruz Smith's detective, Arkady Renko, returns in a very readable mystery. As an investigator attached to The Moscow Prosecutor's office, Renko has to deal with the politics of his office, and in this story, politics on a wider scale. Where there is overt pressure to close cases quickly with 'convenient' findings, Renko continues to use his skills to discover the truth and infuriate many, including his immediate superior.

When people start reporting that they have seen Stalin's ghost appear
May 17, 2017 Diogenes rated it really liked it
Although it starts out somewhat uneven, it soon blossoms into a complex and exciting read. Renko alienates his superiors and almost loses his love, his young ward and his own life in this complex and fascinating tale of former special forces in Chechnya, war crimes in WWII and politics in modern Russia. Smith's masterful descriptions of places and atmosphere put the reader there and his stinging use of irony completes the picture.
May 22, 2017 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy these stories. This one was when written with good characters and plotting.
Rory Allardice
If you like your characters to be deeply flawed and the setting to be bleak and to have countless stereotypes and lots of drama, this book is for you. I have read several books in this series and this was the weakest so far.
Charles Pergiel
People are claiming to have seen Stalin's ghost on a subway platform. I was just taking my first nap of the day and it came to me in a semi-conscious daze that someone had mounted a holographic projector in the ceiling of the metro. Don't know why that came to me. It's not science fiction, it's a murder mystery set in present day Moscow. I'm not even sure holographic projectors exist, though I wouldn't doubt it after all the other weird things that have turning up in the news. Somehow I doubt th ...more
Marc Nethercot
Aug 25, 2014 Marc Nethercot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've slowly made my way through the Arkady Renko books, usually I'll read one and then go read a couple of different books because as much as I enjoy a dark gritty story I need a break now and then!

The appeal for me is Arkady's character. Pull a random book off a shelf and you will probably find a captivating anti-hero or tortured soul putting the world to rights. Arkady is different though; he walks through the world not as an invincible superhero but as a tragic personality dragged along behin
Grace Tjan
Feb 03, 2010 Grace Tjan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arkady Renko possesses all the traits of classic noir detectives; he is a loner who smokes too much and sleeps too little, he has a penchant for tough dames who might or might not be in league with the bad guys, and he gets beaten a lot for too little money. But being Russian he is also subject to other, more exotic predicaments that his colleagues in West could hardly imagine. For starters, his father is one of Stalin’s favorite generals whose wartime hobby is collecting ears taken from slain e ...more
Steve Greenleaf
Jun 11, 2014 Steve Greenleaf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
In reading a recent article about Russia and the Ukraine, the author noted that about one-half of those who support Putin do so because his strong leadership mimics that of Stalin. The other half support him because he doesn’t act like Stalin. Such is the enigma of Russia. It is this type of enigma in this culture that gives us Dostoevsky and Chekov’s characters, the nightmare of Soviet politics, and the Martin Cruz Smith novels about Russian detective Arkady Renko.

In this novel, late-night ri
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Arkady Returns 7 48 Jul 12, 2013 11:18PM  
  • Death of a Dissident (Porfiry Rostnikov, #1)
  • The Darkening Field (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, #2)
  • Shadow Pass (Inspector Pekkala #2)
  • The Tears of Autumn (Paul Christopher #2)
  • Inside the Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia
  • Kingdom of Shadows (Night Soldiers, #6)
  • The Snake Stone (Yashim the Eunuch, #2)
  • And Then You Die (Aurelio Zen, #8)
  • The Confession (The Yalta Boulevard Sequence #2)
  • Potsdam Station (John Russell, #4)
  • The Stalin Epigram
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)
  • Three Stations (Arkady Renko, #7)
  • Tatiana (Arkady Renko, #8)

Share This Book