Anyone who missed Wolves Eat Dogs should put Martin Cruz Smith's 2005 thriller at the top of their holiday list. Melancholic detective Arkady Renko is forced to investigate murder in Chernobyl's desolated "Zone of Exclusion." Understated yet lyrical, Wolves Eat Dogs mirrors the Zone's surreality: "It was like a Russian party, Arkady thought. People got drunk, recklessly confessed their love, spilled their festering dislike, had hysterics, marched out, were dragged back in and revived with brandy. It wasn't a French salon."