Monday, June 16, 2008
Past and Future crime fiction
As I read various crime fiction blogs, reviews, etc., that I've mostly been talking about recent publications here, with occasional glimpses backward. But there are numerous (and currently relevant) international crime titles that I read before starting a blog and I have every intention of going back to re-read some of them to refresh my memory enough to write something about them. The first that come to mind are the first two Carlo Lucarelli books to make it into English: Almost Blue and Day after Day, which are quite different from the recently completed translations of the De Luca trilogy. My memory is that they are more like a TV cop show (though a good one) whereas the De Luca books bear up to comparison with the best of crime films (The Conformist comes to mind, of course). Another pair of exemplary crime novels I haven't read recently are the two Jean-Pierre Manchette novels that have been translated, Three to Kill and Prone Gunman (Thanks to Eurocrime and The Rap Sheet for initiating discussion of Manchette once again). Manchette's politics remain relevant (something Peter of Detectives Beyond Borders pointed out in his review of the last De Luca novel by Lucarelli, posted at Words Beyond Borders) and Prone Gunman is a distillation of all that is exciting and interesting about crime fiction. Three to Kill I remember as being more conventional, but this is a good time to go back and revisit both. There are a number of new books, too, awaiting attention here: A Florentine Death (by former Commissario Michele Giuttari, who not coincidentally persecuted a couple of reporters for pursuing a different line of inquiry on the famous Monster of Florence case than Giuttari himself was pursuing in his day job as a cop or his moonlighting as a writer. Giuttari actually threw the journalists into jail, accused them of involvement in the murders, and kicked the American journalist of the pair out of the country. Should all that (which made it into a U.S. TV network's evening magazine news program) color our reception of Giuttari's novel? Also: the new novel from Norwegian Anne Holt, the most recent Jakob Arjouni detective novel from Germany, a new addition to the very short list of crime novels from Singapore, and the 3rd policier by Barcelona-based Alicia Gimenez-Bartlett (though this new translation is based on the first of her crime novels, in order of their original release). A rich assortment of crime reading--both present and past.