Scott’s Top Five International Crime Novels

As we begin our celebration of International Crime Fiction Month, we’ll bring you top lists of world crime writers all week, leading up to our panel discussion on the highly debatable topic of what international crime fiction is the “best.” Join critic Hopeton Hay, authors Janice Hamrick and Mark Pryor, and booksellers Scott and Molly for our Crime Fiction Around the World event, coming up this Sunday from 2-4 PM. The event takes place on BookPeople’s 3rd floor, and we’ll have giveaways galore!

Scott Montgomery’s Top Five International Crime Novels

magdalen martyrs1. The Magdalen Martyrs by Ken Bruen

This is Bruen’s third book to feature Jack Taylor, the drug and alcohol addicted, self-loathing, and poetically bleak Galway “finder” (the term detective if not looked on favorably by the Irish). To get out from under the thumb of a local gangster, Jack has to track down the nun who helped the hood’s mother escape the infamous Magdalen Laundry,  where the Church put unwed mothers into indentured servitude. Dark, uncompromising, with a unique style. You can find copies of on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

the thief2. The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura

A robber-turned-pick-pocket’s simple life of crime gets overturned by a kid, his sex worker mother, and his old partners in crime who pull him into one last score. Nakamura uses his minimalist style to create a heist novel that surprises you with its humanity and gives you a great look at Tokyo’s underbelly.  You can find copies of The Thief on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

gbh3. GBH by Ted Lewis

A great example of British nastiness in crime fiction. Told in two time frames, we follow the fall of a London porn king, and his search for who set him up as he licks his wounds in a sea side town during the winter. The book is blunt with a cast of irredeemable, yet human, characters, and uses violence like a guillotine hanging over every one’s head.  You can find copies of GBH on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

97819355542024. Happy Birthday, Turk! by Jakob Arjouni

Picture a German Rockford Files with Jim Rockford as a Turkish immigrant and you basically have series character Kemal Kayankaya. This second book has him looking into the stabbing of a fellow Turk that the police have ignored, His investigation keeps getting him roughed up, gassed, and occasionally getting chased down by a Fiat. Hardboiled and humorous with an insight into immigrant life in Germany.  You can find copies of Happy Birthday, Turk! on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

total chaos5. Total Chaos by Jean Claude Izzo

The fist in Izzo’s Marseille trilogy has cop and criminal hunting down their childhood friend’s killer. This book beautifully languishes in its grungy corrupt setting and the emotional ennui of its protagonist. A tough poetic look at male code and camaraderie.  You can find copies of Total Chaos on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

Hard Word Book Club Travels to Germany

happy birthday turk


As part of our June book club celebration of International Crime Fiction Month, the Hard Word Book Club reads Jacob Arjouni’s Happy Birthday, Turk! on Wednesday, June 24th, at 7 PM in BookPeople’s cafe.


Like all of our mystery book clubs this month, the Hard Word Book Club will be celebrating International Crime Fiction Month. This month, we’ve selected a German novel by Jacob Arjouni, Happy Birthday, Turk!. Arjouni, in his detective novels, used his Turkish-but-raised-by-German-parents PI, Kemal Kayankaya, to portray complex relationships between Germans and Turkish immigrants.

“The book reads like a German Rockford Files episode with a leftist bent.”

Komal is a Turkish transplant in Germany with many of the attributes of his American PI counterparts, particularly when it comes to wisecracks. In fact, the book reads like a German Rockford Files episode with a leftist bent. In Happy Birthday, Turk!, he is hired to look into the murder of a fellow immigrant the police have written off, getting roughed up and even gassed on his road to the truth.

Under 170 pages, Happy Birthday, Turk! works as a fast and fun mystery as well as giving an inside look at immigrant life. We should have plenty to talk about when we meet on Wenseday, June 24th, 7PM on the third floor. The book is 10% off to those who attend.


Copies are available on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. All book clubs are free and open to the public, and book club members receive 10% off of their purchase of their monthly book club title.