It’s a Mystery: Stalin’s Ghost, by Martin Cruz Smith

Stalin's Ghost (Arkady Renko, #6)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Moscow Inspector Arkady Renko, who made his first appearance more than twenty years ago in Gorky Park, has lived through all the political since the fall of communism. Sadly, Renko’s current Russia is every bit as bleak as his old one. Understandably, Renko is not a happy man. In Stalin’s Ghost, the sixth Renko novel, riders on Moscow’s Metro are convinced that the ghost of Stalin, still a hero and savior in the eyes of many, has been making appearances in the station he once visited while alive. When Renko attempts to discover what’s really happening, he steps, quite literally, into a minefield.

Stalin’s Ghost is well worth reading, but, be warned, not if you’re already feeling melancholy or hopeless. There’s a doggedness about Renko that’s admirable, even heroic, as against his better judgment, he can’t stop pushing for justice, even when it nearly kills him. There’s also a sense of hopefulness as the book draws toward its conclusion, and it may be that his life may be about to undergo a long overdue change for the better.


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