- Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz
2016 was a stellar year in international crime fiction – the stories below run the gamut from humorous to heart-breaking, daring to disturbing, and playful to pensive. There are entries on the list from Britain, Ireland, Brazil, Canada, France, Argentina, and more, yet the works are just some of the standouts in a thriving international crime fiction community.
1. The Mother by Yvette Edwards
Yvette Edwards tells a moving tale from a complex perspective in this story of murder and consequences in London. Eight months after 16-year-old Ryan is stabbed to death by another teenager, his killer goes on trial, ready to protest his innocence. Ryan’s mother, and her sister Lorna, are torn between their search for justice and their empathy for the teenager on trial. The outcome of the trial comes down to the testimony of a vulnerable teenage mother previously involved with both Ryan and the defendant, and after amping up the action in the last third of the book, Edwards provides a hopeful conclusion. One of the most necessary and moving books of the year.
This book is twisted! Frustrated by a lack of fulfillment in his imaginary relationship with a cadaver, a young medical student kidnaps a writer named Clarice and takes her on road trip through Brazil. From locking her in a suitcase to forcing her to accept his edits to her novel, the doctor-in-training makes Clarice’s life hell, all while justifying his actions to the reader in increasingly bizarre and sometimes comical ways. After several reversals of power, the ending will leave your mouth agape. As funny as it is disturbing!
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For our latest installment of our “Interview with a Translator” Blog Series, we bring you an in-depth interview with British translator Sam Gordon on his just-released-in-the-US translation of Arab Jazz, by French author Karim Miské, a roman noir which playfully explores the vibrant, diverse, and criminally creative city of Paris.
Interview with a Translator: Sam Gordon on Karim Miské’s Arab Jazz
- Interview by Molly Odintz
Molly Odintz: Arab Jazz is a fairly complex novel in terms of changing mood, atmosphere, and general quirkiness -was it a challenge to bring all of the horror, humor, and humanity of the novel over to English?
Sam Gordon: I think the task was made easier by the fact that the various voices and moods you mention don’t overlap too much in the original. The narrative shifts tend to occur at the chapter level, so it was a case of clicking in and out alongside the French. Karim emphasizes the different tones and voices very clearly in the original, so it was relatively straightforward to find consistency and univocality by following the French, even if all the different aspects did have their challenges. My first experience of translating the work involved a sample for the publisher (years ago now!), and this entailed the first five or six pages of the book. These pages center on the protagonist Ahmed, who is a dreamy, very interior character. It was the first of many of his reveries, which are written in beautiful, lyrical, stream-of-consciousness French that I felt compelled to follow relatively closely in the English. The snaps back to reality come at a clear point, so I always felt it was my job to mark this transition from the astral to the terrestrial as definitely as possible.
“…we are no strangers to hardboiled crime fiction, with all its horror and grittiness; and we can do black humor, too…”
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- Post by bookseller and blogger Molly Odintz
1. Security by Gina Wohlsdorf
Gina Wohlsdorf’s debut thriller, Security, is a perfect mixture of romance, action, and surveillance, told from the multiple perspectives of a hotel’s security cameras just before its grand opening. The hotel, named Manderley Luxury Resort, is the modern-day mixture of many of fiction’s creepiest mansions and resorts. Security follows two men, the Killer and the Thinker, as they carve their way through the hotel’s staff. Are they psychotic serial killers? Are they trained mercenaries? Is it personal? All these questions may not even matter to the reader once they become fully immersed in the queasy voyeurism of narration-by-camera and watch the novel’s two heroes, hotel manager Tessa and her foster brother Brian, rekindle their childhood romance as they fight for their lives. The novel concludes with a stunning chase sequence and a host of shocking reveals, and the end is strangely emotionally affecting.
This one is part fairy tale, part abduction narrative. When a young girl in a red coat goes missing from a fairground, her mother suspects the worst, worried her fey-like child might never return. Hammer continues the tale from the dual perspectives of mother and daughter as they face their own challenges in their quest to reunite. Unexpected and haunting, with gorgeous prose and fascinating characters!
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