Arkady Renko is a cop.
He never wanted to be anything else but a cop and he never wanted to be involved in some of the problems he has to deal with. He wants to be a cop. He wants to hunt down drug dealers, robbers, murderers, and the other types of common criminals that plague every civilization. He has absolutely no desire to leave the world of cops and robbers for the bleak world of cloaks and daggers or intrigue or, worst of all, politics.
But in the bleak world of Soviet society, especially a Soviet Union quickly dying all around him, picking your cases is not permitted and Renko, a man who already knows life well enough, sees further proof that in such a world, justice is a fleeting commodity and no one ever has your back.
The adventures that Renko is involved in are included in this compilation because of the international intrigue they have at their core. Black market dealings between the KGB and Americans, shady goings-on in the fishing industry where smuggling is too good an opportunity to pass up, and foreign aid where millions get misplaced easy, all give proof that Renko belongs here, even if he would rather not.
He finds out the hard way that doing one's job can cost a career or a life. He is not rewarded for his uncovering of certain miscreants and pays dearly for telling the truth and not backing down.
Regardless of where he is or what life throws at him, though, Renko is first and always a cop and he consistently proves that he is a very, very good one.