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IT has been a while – far too long, in fact – since I was last in the moody company of Arkady Renko, the rebellious investigator who is a perennial thorn in the side of Moscow prosecutor, the devious Zurin. Back then, in 1981, Arkady’s creator, Martin Cruz Smith, was announcing his arrival on the crime-writing scene with the gripping Gorky Park. Smith achieved instant success; the book quickly became a well-deserved bestseller. And, as its main protagonist, Arkady Renko joined the worldwide ranks of crime fighters who never let the bad guys win. Even in Russia. In those days… Continue reading

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CATCH-up time, trying to reduce the pile of recent reads that have provided a mixed bag of distraction, intrigue, twisting plot-lines and unreliable narrators. Two old favourites and one comparative newbie among a clutch of authors with an unfailing ability to grip and taunt with narratives that leave you guessing to the very end. The Distant Echo by Val McDermid FAR from being a new release, this was recently acquired in response to the cover line declaring this thriller was “introducing Karen Pirie”, a name now long familiar to McDermid devotees. First published in 2003, the tale initially takes us… Continue reading