Gorky Park is the first book in the Arkady Renko series, an exceptionally well-written mystery series by Martin Cruz Smith. The cynical Renko is a criminal investigator in Communist Russia just trying to keep a low profile and stay out of trouble. He's handed the grisly case of three dead bodies found in Moscow's Gorky Park who have had their faces skinned off, a high profile case he'd just as soon not have. However, now that it's his case, he's dogged in his pursuit of answers, challenging corrupt forces in both Communist Russia and Capitalist America. I love Smith's writing. He nails moods and settings, has a marvelously dry sense of humor, and the mysteries are multi-layered. Arkady is one of my very favorite literary characters. This book is not a cozy mystery, but for those who enjoy well thought out mysteries, this is the series for you.
Recommended by Mary Ellen Raun