Moscow lies deep under snow, and Arkady Renko is called in to handle a delicate matter: passengers riding the last metro of the night have reported seeing the ghost of Stalin on the platform edge. Not everyone, it seems, likes the fact that Stalin is dead . . .
But in the midst of a blizzard nothing is as it first appears to be. Renko’s girlfriend Eva and his adopted son, Zhenya, seem to be slipping into danger. The owner of a matrimonial agency wants her husband killed. An innocent ‘Russian Bride’ employs a garrotte. A chess grandmaster wanders into Renko’s life and leads him into the line of fire. Diehard Communists gather to sing along with Stalin. ‘Red Diggers’ uncover secrets buried for half century in a desolate forest and Renko discovers ghosts that have been waiting for him all his life . . .
As Russia swings more and more to the right, Renko is more and more out of step. Not only an original and deeply humane thriller, Stalin’s Ghost is also a wonderful evocation of the emerging New Russia.
Praise for Martin Cruz Smith:
‘Cruz Smith not only constructs grittily realistic plots, he also has a gift for characterisation of which most thriller writers can only dream’ Mail on Sunday