Ten for Your Consideration, with a Bonus
Most of these books are available in English translation unless noted otherwise.
. . . Because of the lag in translation time, Western readers generally remain a decade or more behind the Japanese scene. For this reason, I’ll recommend The Eighth Day (2010), a very popular novel by Mitsuyo Kakuta about the abduction of an infant and the child’s subsequent attempts as an adult to escape the consequences of it.
1 / 11
To me, the book is a stew, combining various popular meats and vegetables, a recipe for a best-seller with something for everyone. At its center is a traditional “locked room” mystery (in this case, a “locked” island) with a limited number of suspects.
2 / 11
A shocking novel in which the hunted becomes the hunter, Alex features a short, odd police detective named Camille Verhoeven in a story of sexual revenge and sadism, with echoes of Jeffrey Deaver.
3 / 11
[Manotti] says that she became a novelist out of disappointment with François Mitterand’s inability to remake French society, and the crime novel seemed the best way to express the experiences of her generation, the perfect vehicle for social and political criticism.
4 / 11
Born in Istanbul in 1937, Markaris has a detective series that is popular in several European countries, and despite his age, he is a great influence on younger writers. The series uses a grumpy detective, Costas Haritos, to examine the financial crisis and other social issues contemporary Greece is grappling with.
5 / 11
Choosing a single book by a writer who is consistently excellent is difficult. I will cheat a bit here and recommend The Redbreast, which was published in Norway in 2000 but not in English until 2006. It tells of a contemporary conspiracy with roots in Norwegian Nazi sympathizers.
6 / 11
Juan Gabriel Vasquez
Even in magical realism’s heyday, many Latin American authors complained about being coerced toward the fanciful. Vásquez’s realism suits the noir impulse that is the Great Flood of current crime writing.
7 / 11
(French language edition) Perhaps more significant, however, is that with over a dozen thrillers to his credit (plays, poems, songs, and extensive nonfiction as well), he also achieved his first publication in France with the international thriller Cible Royale (2014; Royal target), about agents trying to prevent an assassination attempt upon Romania’s exiled King Michael.
8 / 11
(French language edition) The Dictionnaire des Littératures Policières (2003, 2007) is a huge reference—published in 2 volumes, with around 2 million words, 3,000 articles, and 3,000 photos—that covers 2,200 authors and 400 characters.
9 / 11
(German language edition) Critics seem to find Steinfest either hilarious or baffling as Cheng pursues odd cases. Ein dickes Fell (2006; A thick skin) is the novel most recommended by my correspondents; however, like an Austrian Carl Hiaasen, the quality of his linguistic humor may not translate well, and his influence may not be felt as significantly outside the German-language world.
10 / 11
(German language edition) Setting his thrillers in the contemporary corporate world, Den Tex draws on his work experiences to create the context for his novels. While all novels are in some way fantasies, I think we appreciate when a crime writer takes us into a reality most authors cannot re-create—or even understand.
11 / 11