Read: Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith, 2004, 9780671445957 (paperback).
Very good. This is the fifth novel with Russian police inspector Arkady Renko. Each one has been very good.
Arkady has traveled in all of Smith's novels. Based in Moscow he has also worked on a fishing ship in the north Pacific, traveled into Germany, and gone to Cuba. This time Arkady is forced to travel to Chernobyl for a murder investigation.
Smith's novels are a great mix of character, plot and setting. All three ingredients are used to wonderful effect. Arkady and other characters are well drawn and the Chernobyl setting is well described and plays an active part in the way the characters interact and the plot moves.
The restricted "Zone" surrounding Chernobyl is supposed to keep everyone out. But, scientists, squatters and villagers still live inside the radioactive area. The Zone used to be the home of thousands and included Pripyat, a city of 50,000 people. Arkady stays in the Zone with the scientific enclave to investigate why the business associate of a recent suicide Arkady investigated was found dead in an abandoned graveyard in the Zone.