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- The Cartography of WolvesApril 22, 2021
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Every month, like customs agents with a penchant for literature, we’re scouring the latest imports to these shores looking for the best crime novels, mysteries, and thrillers. Whether you’re a devotee of Nordic Noir, French crime, or you’re looking for the next big thing from the far corners of the mysterious world, chances are there’s a good book headed your way. This month brings new Korean Noir, crime fictions from Nigeria and Iceland, Spanish gothic, and more.
Daniel Sanchez Arevalo, Alice’s Island (Atria)
Alice’s Island, a psychological thriller by Spanish crime writer Daniel Sánchez Arévalo, follows a woman whose perfect life is turned upside down by the sudden and suspicious death of her husband, many miles from where he was meant to be at the time of his demise. Her own private investigation leads her to a small island near Nantucket, where, immersed in the lives of the residents, she discovers clues about her husband’s life as well as truths about the person she’s become. You can read an excerpt here.
Antti Tuomainen, Palm Beach, Finland (Orenda Books/Trafalgar Square)
Who said Scandinavian crime fiction couldn’t be funny? In Palm Beach, Finland, the latest Hiaasen-esque thriller by Finland’s Antti Tuomainen, which finds Jan Nyman, detective for the National Central Police, investigating a murder in a seaside town known for its kitschy holiday village, a place with the tagline, “the hottest beach in Finland.” You can read an excerpt here.
Lilja Sigurdardottir, Trap (Orenda Books/Trafalgar Square)
In Trap, the second in Lilja Siguroardottir’s Reykjavik Noir trilogy, her antiheroine Sonja is living in Florida after narrowly escaping the powerful Icelandic drug lords she once worked for, safe until her son is taken and she gets caught up in their bidding, suddenly a pawn in a trap that endangers the very lives she set out to protect. You can read an excerpt here.
Young-ha Kim, Diary of a Murderer (HMH)
Unreliable memories are a trope in contemporary crime fiction, but Young-ha Kim’s title story from his new collection takes a novel twist when it comes to memory, as a serial killer with Alzheimer’s begins to forget the details of his own crimes while attempting to protect his adopted daughter, whom he suspects to be a target of a different killer in the same town. With Diary of a Murderer, Young-ha Kim joins a new wave of Korean crime writers making their mark on the psychological thriller.
Leye Adenle, When Trouble Sleeps (Cassava Republic)
Amaka returns! Leye Adenle burst onto the international crime scene with his debut Easy Motion Tourist, an intricate, fast-paced thriller that takes us through the underworld of Lagos as a British tourist teams up with a human rights attorney named Amaka to get the bottom of a wave of violence targeting sex workers in the Nigerian capital. In the second installment of the series, When Trouble Sleeps, Adenle picks up just where he left off, as Amaka continues to investigate and bring down those who would threaten Lagos’ most vulnerable population; this time, however, Adenle ups the stakes with a complex political subplot that dovetails perfectly with the main mystery for a stunning conclusion. You can read an interview with Adenle here.
Sophie Henaff, Stick Together (Maclhose)
In Stick Together, Sophie Henaff’s newly translated second installment of her series featuring The Odd Squad, composed of the rebellious and lazy dregs of the Parisian police force, which finds Commissaire Anne Capestan forced to drag her unwelcome squad into the investigation of the murder of her ex’s father, and once again finds her squad to be far more capable than the surrounding world could possibly expect. You can read an excerpt here.
Ilaria Tuti, Flowers Over the Inferno (Soho)
This Italian debut introduces us to a formidable heroine, seasoned detective and criminal profiler Teresa Battaglia, when she is called to the small alpine village of Traveni to investigate a murder. The body was found naked with its eyes gouged out, and Teresa senses a killer who likes to play sick games and who will strike again if she can’t figure out his riddles. Of course she is paired with a hot-tempered young detective, and they keep investigating violent attacks. But the locals don’t believe this killer can be among them, and Teresa is sure he is.
Jean-Luc Bannalac, The Missing Corpse (Minotaur)
Bannalac’s Commissaire Dupin are often compared to Simenon’s Maigret novels, and with good reason: the atmospherics are distinctly French, the criminal milieu sharply defined, and above all Dupin, like Maigret, knows his way around the world’s culinary delights. The latest mystery begins, naturally, in an oyster bed, and not just any bed by the legendary beds of the Belon River in Brittany, where a body has turned up among the delicacies. Dupin must sojourn into the countryside and through a gauntlet of celtic myths, making The Missing Corpse not just a satisfying whodunnit but an artful exploration of a region’s thick and tangled culture.