renko_arkady_mv_gp Renko_Arkady3 renko_arkady8 renko_arkady7 Renko_Arkady6 Renko_Arkady2 Renko_Arkady5 renko_arkady_bk_tsd renko_arkady_bk_is Renko_Arkady4 Renko_Arkady1
Full Name: Arkady Renko
Nationality: Russian
Organization: -
Occupation Police Officer

Creator: Martin Cruz Smith
Time Span: 1981 - 2023


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 that often dismal 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 compendium 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; his dedication in the face of so much power and corruption is met with rebuke and then outright punishment. He 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.


Number of Books:10
First Appearance:1981
Last Appearance:2023

1 Gorky Park Gorky Park
Written by Martin Cruz Smith
Copyright: 1981

Gorky Park is a major amusement area in Moscow, It is here that three bodies are found, their faces and fingertips removed by the killer. Arkady Renko is the chief investigator assigned to the case who pushes for the truth despite warnings from his superiors that it wasn't a good thing to find.

2 Polar Star Polar Star
Written by Martin Cruz Smith
Copyright: 1989

Fired from his policeman's duties for knowing too much, Arkady Renko ends up on a fishing trawler to avoid the KGB who would like him dead. While on a brief layover in Alaska, a crewmember is found dead and he is ordered to investigate. Now even his fellow shipmates want nothing to do with him.

3 Red Square Red Square
Written by Martin Cruz Smith
Copyright: 1992

As the Soviet Union's government falls, Arkady Renko is reinstated as an inspector with the Moscow police. Investigating illicit trading and the death of his chief informer, he is perplexed by the same message coming repeatedly over the fax, "Where is Red Square?"

4 Havana Bay Havana Bay
Written by Martin Cruz Smith
Copyright: 1999

Reeling from the death of his wife, Arkady Renko is numb as he is sent to Havana to investigate the killing of an old friend, a former colonel in the KGB. In this country where he has no friends, he finds a plot to cheat Russia out of a quarter of a billion dollars.

5 Wolves Eat Dogs Wolves Eat Dogs
Written by Martin Cruz Smith
Copyright: 2004

Arkady Renko doesn't support the official ruling of suicide when a billionaire Russian falls out of his 10th floor apartment. This stance causes much trouble with his superiors but he is intrigued since the dead man was holding a salt shaker.

6 Stalin's Ghost Stalin's Ghost
Written by Martin Cruz Smith
Copyright: 2007

As he investigates the activity of a decorated Black Beret officer, Arkady Renko is ordered to also check out reports by riders of the Moscow subway that there have been numerous sightings of the ghost of Joseph Stalin haunting the rails.

7 Three Stations Three Stations
Written by Martin Cruz Smith
Copyright: 2010

Arkady Renko is on suspension, again, when he continues to investigate the death of a young woman whose case looks like a simple drug overdose but which has evidence pointing to a billionaire's club and very powerful people.

8 Tatiana Tatiana
Written by Martin Cruz Smith
Copyright: 2013

Tatiana Petrovna was a reporter who was not afraid to tackle a big story and that got her killed, falling from a sixth floor. She had been investigating something that harkened back to the Cold War but was still very much around today.

9 The Siberian Dilemma The Siberian Dilemma
Written by Martin Cruz Smith
Copyright: 2019

Tatiana, the reporter who is also the love of Arkady Renko, should have returned from her assignment but she didn't and no one has a clue. Worse yet, no one seems worried except for Renko. His search for her will take him from Moscow to the Lake Baikal area of south-central Siberia and into the area controlled by the only man in recent time to pose a challenge to Putin's rule.
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10 Independence Square Independence Square
Written by Martin Cruz Smith
Copyright: 2023

Arkady Renko risks his life when he heads to Ukraine shortly before the Russian invasion to find an anti-Putin activist who has mysteriously disappeared.
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Number of Movies:1
First Appearance:1983
Last Appearance:1983

1 Gorky Park Gorky Park
Director: Michael Apted
Writer: Dennis Potter
Actors: William Hurt as Arkady Renko, Lee Marvin as Jack Osborne, Brian Dennehy as William Kirwill, Ian Bannen as Iamskoy
Released: 1983

Looking into a murder in a popular Moscow park, homicide detective Arkady Renko is soon deeply into a local political scandal.


Mr. Smith is an incredible writer. You feel the bitter cold standing in Gorky Park, you sweat from the humid heat of Havana, you can taste the salt in the air onboard the trawler. You are where the character is and see and feel what the character does. You aren't watching. You are participating.

You can't get much more praise than that.

In case you need more, though, here it is. I will be a Martin Cruz Smith reader as long as that man keeps writing them. He is that good. Always.

And Renko is a man you have to root for. You know he is going to pay for being so good and it bothers you more than you want to admit but he is who is he and you would not want him any other way.


My Grade: A

Your Average Grade:   A-


morris00 A- 2020-07-08

Wish there were more of these.

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