Martin Cruz Smith

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Martin Cruz Smith
BornMartin William Smith
(1942-11-03) November 3, 1942 (age 80)
Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Pen name
  • Ted Irish
  • Dr. Emile Korngold
  • Sol Roman
  • Nick Carter
  • Jake Logan
  • Martin Quinn
  • Simon Quinn
  • Martin Smith
  • Martin Cruz Smith
EducationUniversity of Pennsylvania (BA)
Notable worksGorky Park

Martin Cruz Smith, born Martin William Smith (November 3, 1942) is an American writer of mystery and suspense fiction, mostly in an international or historical setting. He is best known for his ten-novel series (to date) on Russian investigator Arkady Renko, introduced in 1981 with Gorky Park. The tenth book in the series, Independence Square, was published in May 2023.

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, teacher, Amerindian rights militant, and Miss New Mexico in 1939.[1] Martin was educated at Germantown Academy, in Ft Washington, Pennsylvania, then at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing in 1964. He is of partly Pueblo,[2] Spanish,[3] Senecu del Sur and Yaqui ancestry.[4]


Smith worked as a journalist from 1965 to 1969 and began writing fiction in the early 1970s. He wrote two Slocum adult action Western novels under the pen name Jake Logan.[5] He 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. He wrote three novels in the Nick Carter series.

Canto for a Gypsy, Smith's third novel overall and the second to feature Roman Grey, a gypsy art dealer in New York City, was nominated for an Edgar Award.[6] 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 he introduced in Gorky Park (1981). The novel, which Time called the "first thriller of the '80s",[7] became a bestseller and won a Gold Dagger Award from the British Crime Writers' Association.[8] 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 occupied the top spot for a week. It stayed in the No. 2 position for over three months, beaten only by James Clavell's Noble House, and 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, and 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. On September 5, 2010, he and Arkady Renko returned to 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 Independence Square (2023).


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.[5]

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. ^ "Louise L. Smith". Philadeophia Inquirerr. December 17, 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2023.
  2. ^ Interview with Sophie Majeski at, accessed 8 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Crime pays" by Nichlas Wroe, The Guardian, 26 March 2005; accessed 8 March 2011.
  4. ^ The Cambridge companion to Native American literature, by Joy Porter, Kenneth M. Roemer, p.8; accessed through Google Books, 8 March 2011.
  5. ^ a b Weber, Bruce (January 7, 1990). "Arkady Renko Goes to Munich". The New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
  6. ^ Staff Writer. "Best Mystery Novel Edgar Award Winners and Nominees Complete List of All Since 1954". Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  7. ^ "Books: A Moral, Exportable Sleuth". Time. March 30, 1981. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  8. ^ 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]