cover image Independence Square: Arkady Renko in Ukraine

Independence Square: Arkady Renko in Ukraine

Martin Cruz Smith. Simon & Schuster, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-9821-8830-6

Bestseller Smith’s stellar 10th mystery featuring Arkady Renko (after 2019’s The Siberian Dilemma) finds the maverick Russian investigator working for Moscow’s Office of Prosecution in June 2021. Relegated by his boss to desk duty, he serves as the office’s departmental liaison officer and attends pointless meetings where he’s “neither wanted nor needed.” He gets a chance to exercise his investigative skills when Fyodor Abakov, a bodybuilder who runs protection rackets in the city, asks him to trace his missing daughter, Karina, a violinist in a string quartet. That Karina is a member of an anti-Putin organization, Forum for Democracy, has led Abakov to fear that the government is behind her disappearance. Renko agrees to help, and his inquiry eventually takes him to Ukraine and Crimea in search of leads. His efforts are complicated by several brazen political murders, a new romantic opportunity, and a diagnosis that he has Parkinson’s, which has already affected his balance and energy level. Smith’s reveal about what happened to Karina is surprising, logical, and disturbing. Renko, who made his debut in 1981’s Gorky Park, remains the archetype of an honest cop working for a corrupt regime. Agent: Andrew Nurnberg, Andrew Nurnberg Assoc. (May)