Three Stations

Three Stations

by Martin Cruz Smith

Arlene Almas: I first became acquainted with Detective Arkady Renko many years ago when I listened to "Gorky Park" on audio book. Now he is back in Martin Cruz Smith's new novel "Three Stations," named after a section of Moscow where three major railroad stations stand in close proximity to each other. Cruz Smith deftly brings to life the dark atmosphere of this area created by vacant and crumbling buildings, marauding teenage gangs, various criminal types, and corrupt police. Into this roiling hellhole comes the waif-like 15-year-old girl Maya, arriving on a train from which her newborn baby has been kidnapped. Zhenya, a decent teenager whose home is the streets and empty buildings of the Three Stations area, determines that he will help Maya, with the assistance of his sometime frie! nd and protector Detective Renko, even though he (and everyone else she tells her story to) does not believe her tale of the missing baby. While helping Maya and Zhenya, Renko is also investigating the murder of a young woman whose appearance is that of a prostitute, which causes the police to ignore her case. The characters may not be deep, but the action is lively and entertaining.
Rating: ***

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