About Time I Read It: Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith

Right before our local public libraries closed their doors in an effort to halt the spread of the rampaging Corona Virus I secured a tall stack of books betting I’d probably be hunkered down for a while. Luckily for me, as a health precaution our libraries ordered us to not return any borrowed materials and as a result we get to keep our books until further notice. As the world battles the worst pandemic in a century at least I’ve got plenty to read.

One of the books I grabbed before our libraries suspended operations was Martin Cruz Smith’s 2004 whodunnit Wolves Eat Dogs. Over the last year or so I’ve been supplementing my diet of nonfiction with international thrillers, crime novels and the like and figured now was a good time to dive back into the fiction of Martin Cruz Smith, an author I haven’t read in decades. Set mostly in Ukraine, I could apply it towards Rose City Reader’s European Reading Challenge, making it hard to resist. I burned through Wolves Eat Dogs in only a few days and I must have enjoyed it because it left me wanting to read more of his stuff.

It looked like a simple suicide. One of Russia’s billionaires, deciding he couldn’t take it anymore and jumped out the window his Moscow luxury high-rise. A lesser Investigator would have closed the book the second he arrived on the scene but not Arkady Renko. Knowing from experience whenever wealthy and powerful Russian men are killed it’s never by their own hands Renko, over the protests of his superiors decides to dig a bit deeper. Before long his investigation takes him to Ukraine, specifically to Chernobyl and the Zone of Exclusion, an irradiated shadowland abandoned since the 1986 nuclear disaster now home to an assortment of squatters, animal poachers, scavengers and corrupt militia men. It’s here Renko suspects there’s some sort of connection between Chernobyl and the dead billionaire. But what is it?

Inspector Renko is one of those great characters you can’t get enough of. Smart as hell and honest, and because he’s been at it so long knows his stuff. After years of fighting crime in the USSR and the near lawless post-Communist regime that took its place, Renko’s left cynical and damaged, but amazingly still in possession of his humanity. He’s tough, level-headed and never reckless. Those occasions when he does need to kick some ass, he does it right.

Like I said above, I enjoyed Wolves Eat Dogs and I’m hoping to read more of Cruz Smith’s fiction in the future. With a little luck this won’t be my last blog post featuring the adventures of Inspector Renko.

10 thoughts on “About Time I Read It: Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith

  1. I have only read one Martin Cruz Smith (set in Barcelona), but remember really enjoying it. I have The Girl in Venice (from Venice?) on my TBR shelf.

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  2. You are tremendously sensible to have acquired so many library books when you had the chance! When the quarantine hit I was in the midst of recovering from a situation in which I had just an unfathomable number of books checked out, and I’d FINALLY gotten it down to a reasonable number, so I was trying to be sensible and not get more. I regret it now! I am envious of your pile!

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    • Thanks! I’m lucky in that I can also borrow a ton of ebooks for my Kindle via Overdrive. Of course on top of all this I have a massive personal library of unread books to tap into! Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

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  3. I have never heard of this series so will look into it. Like you I’m also doing the European Reading challenge and books for the more obscure countries are hard to find, so thanks!

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  4. Pingback: Soviet Spotlight: Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith | Maphead's Book Blog

  5. Pingback: 2020 European Reading Challenge Wrap-Up | Maphead's Book Blog

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