I haven't read a detective novel in awhile, and I'm glad I came back to them with this one. I decided to read it after taking a lot pleasure in Cruz Smith's prose in a piece about Moscow he wrote for _National Geographic_, and it was great. Arkady Renko is a terrific detective protagonist. The narrative and social setting is fantastic; the plot sprawls but successfully weaves together in a way that doesn't feel contrived. I wondered sometimes how much of the Russian setting was written by an American for Americans, but as an American reading it I definitely felt steeped in some kinda fascinating and troubled world. It is a detective novel, after all, so probably some stylization of reality is to be expected or even desired.
Anyway - really enjoyed it, and will read more.