Three bodies, faceless and missing fingertips, are found in Gorky Park, Moscow. A police detective investigates, expecting the KGB to take over the investigation at any moment, and gets drawn into a tangled web of lies, money, and not knowing who to trust. Arkady Renko is a police investigator who, as he tries to make a show of investigating the murders, finds himself getting more involved.
The novel, set in Moscow for the most part, is a classic thriller where our hero stumbles onto things bigger than himself. Renko is a great lead character as he is flawed, confused, and yet struggling to do what he believes is right. Because most of the action takes place in Russia, you get a flavour of what it must have been to live there in the 80s. The reader feels drawn in as the descriptions of everyday life in Moscow paint a grim picture highlighted by pockets of hope.
The characters are richly created, full of life, and yet, not over the top in anyway. This feels very real. This, along with a great twisty plot that takes the lead character through highs and lows makes Gorky Park a brilliant book.