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Three Stations

(Arkady Renko #7)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  4,433 ratings  ·  463 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,
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 SmithThe Twelve Chairs by Ilya Ilf
Books set in Moscow
72 books — 31 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
873 books — 1,107 voters

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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,433 ratings  ·  463 reviews

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Sep 08, 2010 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 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 ...more
Jan 23, 2016 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
George Tyson
Dec 19, 2012 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
Syl Sabastian
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it
An entertaining read providing a glimpse into a world within a world, street life in Moscow's Three Stations. One does get the feel also from the main character of a difference, subtle, but it's there in mindset due to environment. The results of a different culture, and resulting different psychology. Not just in the MC, but the other characters as well. It's refreshing to connect to Russian characters. The story is entertaining across the full range of spectra from the street to an oligarch.
Nov 05, 2010 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 ...more
Alex Cantone
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The thing is, Russians are perfectionists. That's our curse. It makes for great chess players and ballerinas and turns the rest of us into jealous inebriates."

This is the first of the Arkady Renko, Prosecutor's investigator that I have read and found it a taut page turner. Renko is assisting his drunken police associate in the case of a young woman's body, found naked from the waist down in an old trailer. An accidental OD, or is it? Renko has been unable to contact his ward, Zhenya, a chess
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matthew Iden
Feb 18, 2014 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 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.
Richard Gazala
Mar 21, 2012 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 ...more
Mal Warwick
Jan 02, 2011 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
Dec 12, 2010 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
Jan 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Unlike most of Cruz Smith's novels with Arkady Renko, Three Stations is a fast read. It gallops ahead involving street orphans, billionaire oligarchs and a particularly vicious international sex trafficking ring. As usual Renko stumbles into a criminal investigation that his superior officers want covered up and that leads (of course) to entire webs of evildoing. There are two key people who don't really fit in--actually who so distracting they might have wandered in from a different book--but ...more
Ruth Downie
May 09, 2012 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.
Garlan ✌
A good, solid read from MC Smith. I'd read all the early Detective Renko novels from (30?) years ago and really enjoyed them at the time. This one didn't have the same effect on me, but that may be because I no longer study the RU language and culture like I once did. This is a short novel, and the cast of characters is fairly long, so at times, I didn't feel like I had a good grasp on some of the minor characters. Still, a good read if you're a fan of the series. Closer to a 3 1/2 star ...more
Chris Waterford
Nov 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
No literary merit, no good characters and lacks a decent story line. For thriller fans only. DNF.
Sep 15, 2010 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
Gerald Sinstadt
Feb 14, 2014 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 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
Jun 11, 2011 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 ...more
Fredrick Danysh
Nov 14, 2015 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.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three Stations by Martin Cruz Smith.

A passenger, young mother with her infant daughter, on a train headed to Moscow is confronted by a thug with evil intentions. This time another woman sends him on his way in a mad dash to escape. This is only the beginning of the worst of times for this vulnerable young lady.

Arkady Renko is the cop who finds truth that goes beyond his limits as an officer that has led to his suspension. He's not timid about where he needs to search to find the answers and in
Jim B
Mar 07, 2017 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
While this series overall is great, this book is probably one of the weakest. The two plots were both pretty slight but at least the characters were as interesting as ever. Listened to the audio version which was narrated by one of my favorites Ron McLarty.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a shorter read than the other Renko novels I've enjoyed, and felt a little rushed in places (especially the appearance of the love interest), but there's still the plot strands cunningly entwined, mixed with fascinating details of life in Russia, that I've come to love.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
This one has so many twists and turns it is hard to keep track of what's going on.
Nick Baam
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tough crowd!

Very good book, better than 90 percent of what's out there. Gorky Park, Havana Bay, Polar Star ... and... and .... almost Three Stations are for me Smith's best.

Three Stations ('Instead, he moved around the table and gathered her up. She was incredibly light and he discovered while her body was small it was deep enough for the rest of the world to disappear.') wraps up a little too swiftly, the final 50 pages or so seem rushed, like chess moves made w the clock running down, but
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 ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Arkady Renko (9 books)
  • Gorky Park (Arkady Renko, #1)
  • Polar Star (Arkady Renko, #2)
  • Red Square (Arkady Renko, #3)
  • Havana Bay (Arkady Renko, #4)
  • Wolves Eat Dogs
  • Stalin's Ghost (Arkady Renko, #6)
  • Tatiana (Arkady Renko, #8)
  • The Siberian Dilemma (Arkady Renko #9)