Wednesday, February 19, 2014

#5: Tatiana by Martin Cruz Smith

Russian cop Arkady Renko is back, looking into the death of a crusading journalist, in Martin Cruz Smith's Tatiana.

This is a great police procedural series that has been delivering the goods since Renko's first adventure, Gorky Park, in 1981 (and I think I have been reading him since then).  Martin Cruz Smith has charted the rises and falls of Russian life during what has turned out to be a tumultuous time in their history.

But ultimately it is the honorable, philosophical, flawed hero Arkady Renko that buoys the novels, and fans of the series, or tarnished cops in general, will enjoy this latest outing.

I'm not sure Martin Cruz Smith's novels are getting the attention they once did (since the Gorky Park film adaptation), but this is a very solid novel the equal of previous in this series.

I picked this up from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana and read it quickly.

Monday, February 17, 2014

#4: Operation Breakthrough by Dan J. Marlowe

Drake, the Man with Nobody's Face, is doing a covert bank job for the the government; unfortunately, the job ends up botched and with his partner in the hands of an unfriendly nation, leaving Drake to fly solo to the rescue in Operation Breakthrough.

Dan J. Marlowe wrote a series of these undemanding spy novels in his latter years.  I am a bit more partial to his earlier Johnny Killain series of private eye novels, but as Marlowe had a colorful writing and personal life I feel like I should dip deeper into the well before drawing conclusions.

I would not place Drake in the same category as two of my favorite contemporaries, Joe "the Nullifier" Gall or Sam Durell, but would put him above a lot of the generic spy fare of the era.  That being said, your mileage may vary.

I bought a big stack of these from a used bookstore in Muncie, Indiana, and read this one quickly.