The story is set in Uruguay, it starts in a Montevideo prison where Diego waits for his lawyer, the slick Dr Antinucci, always raybanned, chain-smoking, never frisked by the prison guards. Diego, betrayed by his partner in crime, was arrested for kidnapping a businessman. But charges will not be pressed. The businessman and his wife have described Diego as duped by his partner, certainly no master criminal, so he will be let out. But Antonucci has plans for him, a favour must be returned for his surprising freedom, he must join forces with the psychopath El Roto and hold up an armoured truck in Montevideo. The mad and hilarious caper includes the robbery of course which degenerates into appalling violence, a few murders, and the general bungling of affairs by all the men involved. It is the belittled women, including Police Inspector Lima, who end up the true heroines of the story. This seemingly classic lowlife crime story has a powerful message: never, ever underestimate the women. All told with excoriating wit and humour from the Rio de la Plata. Crocodile Tears is by Mercedes Rosende.
The Foreign Girls is by Sergio Olguin. Veronica Rosenthal has retreated to a cousin's remote cottage in the province of Tucuman, to recuperate from the traumatic events in The Fragility of Bodies. She befriends two female tourists -an Italian and a Norwegian-- invites them to stay and starts a sexual relationship with one of them. After a party they attend together, Veronica travels on alone but days later discovers that the women have been murdered. Suspicion falls on a local Umbanda priest, but Veronica starts to uncover a web of corruption, abuse and femicide in which government, wealthy landowners and a high-ranking official from the Argentina's 'Dirty War' are all implicated. Veronica's investigation, with its unforeseen political dimensions, has alarmed new enemies who will try to stop her at all cost.
The Measure of Time is by Gianrico Carofiglio. One spring afternoon, defence attorney Guerrieri is confronted with an unexpected spectre from his past. In her youth, Lorenza had been a beautiful and unpredictable girl with dazzling charm. A changed woman faces him in his office that day. The ensuing years have ravaged her appearance and embittered her mind. As if that weren't enough, her son Jacopo, a small-time delinquent, stands convicted of the first-degree murder of a local drug dealer. Her trial lawyer has died, so, for the appeal, she turns to Guerrieri as her last hope. Guido is not convinced of the innocence of Lorenza's son, nor does he have fond memories of the way their relationship ended two decades earlier. Nevertheless, he accepts the case; perhaps to pay a melancholy homage to the ghosts of his youth. His old friend Carmelo Tancredi, a retired police inspector, and his girlfriend, the charming investigator Annapaola Doria are once again by his side. A masterful, compassionate novel, striking a balance between a straightforward trial story -some say the purest distillation of human experience - and the sad notes of time as it passes and exhausts itself.
Things are looking bad for disgraced spy August Drummond. In emotional free fall after the death of his wife, fired for a series of unprecedented security breaches... and now his neighbor on the flight to Istanbul won't stop talking. The only thing keeping him sane is the hunch that there's something not quite right about the nervous young man several rows ahead - a hunch that is confirmed when August watches him throw away directions to an old European cemetery seconds before being detained by Turkish police. A reckless August decides to go to the cemetery, where he meets a mysterious figure from the dark heart of the Islamic State and quickly finds himself drawn into a shadowy plot to murder an Iranian scientist in Istanbul. But nothing is what it seems, and before long August realises he has gone too far to turn back. As he struggles to break free from the clutches of Islamic State and play off British intelligence against their Turkish counterparts, he will find his resourcefulness, ingenuity and courage tested to the very limit of what he can endure. How To Betray Your Country by James Wolff.
The Transparency of Time' by Leonardo Padura sees the Cuban investigator pursuing a mystery spanning centuries of occult history. Mario Conde is facing down his sixtieth birthday. What does he have to show for his decades on the planet? A failing body, a slower mind, and a decrepit country, in which both the ideals and failures of the Cuban Revolution are being swept away in favour of a new and newly cosmopolitan worship of money. Rescue comes in the form of a new case: an old Marxist turned flamboyant practitioner of Santeria appears on the scene to engage Conde to track down a stolen statue of the Virgen de Regla-a black Madonna. This sets Conde on a quest that spans twenty-first century Havana as well as the distant past, as he delves as far back as the Crusades in an attempt to uncover the true provenance of the statue. Through vignettes from the life of a Catalan peasant named Antoni Barral, who appears throughout history in different guises-as a shepherd during the Spanish Civil War, as vassal to a feudal lord-we trace the Madonna to present-day Cuba. With Barral serving as Conde's alter ego, unstuck in time, and Conde serving as the author's, we are treated to a panorama of history, and reminded of the impossibility of ever remaining on its sidelines, no matter how obscure we may think our places in the action.
It is the end of October, the city of Basel is grey and wet. It could be December. It is just after midnight when Police Inspector Peter Hunkeler, on his way home and slightly worse for wear, spots old man Hardy sitting on a bench under a street light. He wants to smoke a cigarette with him, but the usually very loquacious Hardy is silent-his throat a gaping wound. Turns out he was first strangled and his left earlobe slit, the diamond stud he usually wore there missing. The media and the police come quickly to the same conclusion: Hardy's murder was the work of a gang of Albanian drug smugglers. But for Hunkeler that seems too obvious a resolution. After all, Barabara Amsler, a prostitute, was also recently found strangled, her ear slit. He follows his own intuition and methods which lead him deep into a seedy world of bars and night clubs. More ominously, he soon must face the consequences of certain events in recent Swiss history that those in power would prefer to keep far from the public eye. The Basel Killings is by Hansjörg Schneider.