Martin Cruz Smith

Martin Cruz Smith
Born Martin William Smith
(1942-11-03) November 3, 1942
Reading, Pennsylvania, United States
Pen name   Nick Carter
  Jake Logan
  Martin Quinn
  Simon Quinn
  Martin Smith
  Martin Cruz Smith
Occupation   Novelist
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
Genre Mystery
Notable works Gorky Park

Martin Cruz Smith (born November 3, 1942) is an American mystery novelist. He is best known for his eight-novel series on Russian investigator Arkady Renko, who was first introduced in 1981 with Gorky Park.

Early life and education

Martin William Smith was born in Reading, Pennsylvania from John Calhoun Smith, jazz musician and Louise Lopez, his amerindian mother from Pueblo descent, jazz singer and Amerindian rights militant. Martin was educated at Germantown Academy, in Germantown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, then at the University of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing in 1964. He is of partly Pueblo,[1] Spanish,[2] Senecu del Sur and Yaqui ancestry.[3]


From 1965 to 1969, Smith worked as a journalist and began writing fiction in the early 1970s.

Canto for a Gypsy, his third novel overall and the second to feature Roman Grey, a gypsy art dealer in New York City, was nominated for an Edgar Award.[4]

Nightwing (1977), also an Edgar nominee, was his breakthrough novel, and he adapted it for a feature film of the same name (1979).

Smith is best known for his novels featuring Russian investigator Arkady Renko whom Smith introduced in Gorky Park (1981). The novel, which was called the "first thriller of the '80s" by Time,[5] became a bestseller and won a Gold Dagger Award from the British Crime Writers' Association.[6] Renko has since appeared in seven other novels by Smith. Gorky Park debuted at No. 2 on the "New York Times" bestseller list on April 26, 1981 and hung onto the top spot for another week. It stayed in the No. 2 position for over three months, beaten only by James Clavell's Noble House. It stayed in the top 15 through November of that year. Polar Star also claimed the No. 1 spot for two weeks on August 6, 1989. It subsequently held the No. 2 spot for over two months.

During the 1990s, Smith twice won the Dashiell Hammett Award from the North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers. The first time was for Rose in 1996; the second time was for Havana Bay in 1999. And on September 5, 2010, he and Arkady Renko returned to the top of the New York Times bestseller list when Three Stations debuted at No. 7 on the fiction bestsellers list.

In the 1970s, Smith wrote two Slocum adult action Western novels under the pen name Jake Logan.[7] Smith has also written a number of other paperback originals, including a series about a character named "The Inquisitor", a James Bond-type agent employed by the Vatican. Smith also wrote two novels in the Nick Carter series.


He originally wrote under the name "Martin Smith", only to discover there were other writers with the same name. His agent asked Smith to add a third name and Smith chose Cruz, his paternal grandmother's surname.[7]

Personal life

Smith lives in San Rafael, California, with his family.


Romano Grey books

(as Martin Smith)

The Inquisitor Series

(as Simon Quinn)

Arkady Renko books

Other books


  1. Interview with Sophie Majeski at, accessed 8 March 2011.
  2. "Crime pays" by Nichlas Wroe, The Guardian, 26 March 2005; accessed 8 March 2011.
  3. The Cambridge companion to Native American literature, by Joy Porter, Kenneth M. Roemer, p.8; accessed through Google Books, 8 March 2011.
  4. Staff, Writer. "Best Mystery Novel Edgar Award Winners and Nominees Complete List of All Since 1954". Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  5. "Books: A Moral, Exportable Sleuth". Time. March 30, 1981. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  6. Staff writer (n.d.). "List of Dagger Award Winners". Crime Writers' Association. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
  7. 1 2 Weber, Bruce (January 7, 1990). "Arkady Renko Goes to Munich". The New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2011.

External links

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