Martin Cruz Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Martin Cruz Smith
BornMartin William Smith
(1942-11-03) November 3, 1942 (age 80)
Reading, Pennsylvania, United States
Pen name
  • Ted Irish
  • Dr. Emile Korngold
  • Sol Roman
  • Nick Carter
  • Jake Logan
  • Martin Quinn
  • Simon Quinn
  • Martin Smith
  • Martin Cruz Smith
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania
Notable worksGorky Park

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

Early life and education[edit]

Martin William Smith was born in Reading, Pennsylvania to John Calhoun Smith, jazz musician and Louise Lopez, an American Indian of Pueblo descent, jazz singer and Amerindian rights militant. Martin was educated at Germantown Academy, in Germantown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, then at the University of Pennsylvania, also located in Philadelphia, 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. He wrote two Slocum adult action Western novels under the pen name Jake Logan.[4] 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; and a science fiction novel, The Indians Won. Smith wrote three novels in the Nick Carter series.

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.[5]

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,[6] became a bestseller and won a Gold Dagger Award from the British Crime Writers' Association.[7] Renko has since appeared in eight 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. His most recent novel featuring Renko is "The Siberian Dilemma" (2019).


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.[4]

Personal life[edit]

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


Romano Grey books[edit]

(as Martin Smith)

  • Gypsy in Amber New York: Putnam, [1971] ISBN 0-399-10386-4
  • Canto for a Gypsy New York: Putnam, [1972] ISBN 978-0-399-11024-5

The Inquisitor Series[edit]

(as Simon Quinn)

  • The Devil in Kansas (1974) (The Inquisitor Series #1)
  • The Last Time I Saw Hell (1974) (The Inquisitor Series #2)
  • Nuplex Red (1974) (The Inquisitor Series #3)
  • His Eminence, Death (1974) (The Inquisitor Series #4)
  • The Midas Coffin (1975) (The Inquisitor Series #5)
  • Last Rites for the Vulture (1975) (The Inquisitor Series #6)

Arkady Renko books[edit]

Other books[edit]

  • The Indians Won (1970)
  • The Analog Bullet (1972)
  • Inca Death Squad (1972) (as Nick Carter)
  • The Devil's Dozen (1973) (as Nick Carter)
  • Code Name: Werewolf (1973) (as Nick Carter)
  • The Human Factor (1975) (as Simon Quinn)
  • The Wilderness Family (1975) (as Martin Quinn)
  • North to Dakota (a Slocum western) (1976) (as Jake Logan)
  • Ride for Revenge (a Slocum western) (1977) (as Jake Logan)
  • Nightwing (1977)
  • Stallion Gate (1986). ISBN 0-345-31079-9
  • Rose (1996)
  • December 6 (2002) (also published as Tokyo Station)
  • The Girl from Venice (2016)


  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. ^ a b Weber, Bruce (January 7, 1990). "Arkady Renko Goes to Munich". The New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
  5. ^ Staff Writer. "Best Mystery Novel Edgar Award Winners and Nominees Complete List of All Since 1954". Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  6. ^ "Books: A Moral, Exportable Sleuth". Time. March 30, 1981. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  7. ^ Staff writer (n.d.). "List of Dagger Award Winners". Crime Writers' Association. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2011.

External links[edit]