"Slow, But It Builds"
I didn't know what to expect of Gorky Park when I started reading it, which is one of the reasons I ordered it in the first place. I hadn't seen the film, and no-one had mentioned the book to me. I'd heard of the film, but I didn't know anything about it. Call the book an impulse purchase - I can't figure out why I bought it either.
It's actually pretty good though. It tries to get across the cold misery of life in Moscow, and the fear of the police state and the party, as well as how different types of people handle the power structures. What sort of person joins the party when it's so corrupt? What sort of person doesn't join the party when it's the only key to getting out of an impoverished lifestyle?
It's more than that though. As a thriller, there are enough unknowns to keep you from having a complete understanding until the author's ready, and the way the whole story is gradually revealed over the course of the book is very nice.
It can be slow going in parts though. The pace is sporadic - sometimes it's fine and sometimes it's just dull plodding trying to get to the next interesting bit - and most of the characters are stereotypes that are barely sketched out. Even so I (mostly) enjoyed it.