Foreign Intrigue Book Club

The Foreign Intrigue Book Club

Do you like to travel? Experience a country through the eyes of a local? Try the food of another country? Join us for the Foreign Intrigue Book Group at Books Inc. Laurel Village, at 7:00 PM on the third Tuesday of the month.




By Jorn Lier Horst, Anne Bruce (Translator)
ISBN: 9781905207671
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Published: Sandstone - December 31st, 2011

April 2015 Selection: Meet Chief Inspector William Wisting, an experienced policeman who is familiar with the dark side of human nature. He lives in challenging times for the Norwegian police force, meeting them with integrity and humanity, and a fragile belief that he can play a part in creating a better world. Dregs begins with a police report giving the place and time of the discovery of a training shoe washed up on the sand, still containing a severed foot from the victim's body, the introduction of CI William Wisting, and the first hint of his health worries. Soon a second shoe is washed up, but it is another left. What is the explanation for this? Has there been some kind of terrible accident at sea? Does it indicate the killing and dismembering of two victims? Is there a link with the unsolved mystery of a number of disappearances in the Larvik area in recent months? In this gripping police procedural, Wisting gradually gets to the bottom of the mystery with the help of his all too human colleagues and his journalist daughter, Line.

ISBN: 9780307950383
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Published: Vintage - January 20th, 2015

March 2015 Selection: From a master of Scandinavian crime fiction--the first in a brilliant series of novels centered around the investigations of one irascible, obdurate, and very thirsty Swedish police officer: Detective Superintendent Evert Backstrom of the National Murder Squad.
Detective Backstrom is Persson's persistently repulsive yet undeniably brilliant comic creation--an unforgettable cop winding his way through the black comedy of a crime scene, and managing to upset nearly everyone in the process.When a newspaper delivery boy finds a 68 year-old alcoholic lying dead in his apartment--beaten with a saucepan lid and hammer, and then strangled--everyone expects an open-and-shut murder case, everyone that is but Hawaiian-shirt clad Detective Backstrom who's been assigned to lead the investigation team. Under strict orders from his doctor to improve his health as quickly as possible, Backstrom has begun stumbling to work on foot, and even eating vegetables. The police force isn't what it used to be though, and now that it's crowded with women and foreigners resisting a drink is harder than ever before. But when the newspaper boy goes missing Backstrom's suspicions are proven correct, giving his irrepressible mix of luck and laziness a chance to save the day, while managing to upset nearly everyone in the process.

ISBN: 9780061143373
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Published: Harper Paperbacks - April 7th, 2009

February 2015 Selection: Set in modern-day Iceland--and already an international sensation--"Last Rituals" introduces one of the most compelling and exceptional new characters to appear in years, attorney Thra Guomunddottir, in a tale of medieval witchcraft and modern murder.

ISBN: 9780143119524
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Published: Penguin Books - June 28th, 2011

January 2015 Selection: Set in charming and historic Aix-en-Provence, France, Death at the Château Bremont introduces readers to Antoine Verlaque, the handsome and seductive chief magistrate of Aix, and his on-again, off- again love interest, law professor Marine Bonnet. When local nobleman Etienne de Bremont falls to his death from the family château, the town is abuzz with rumors. Verlaque suspects foul play and must turn to Marine for help when he discovers that she had been a close friend of the Bremonts. This is a lively whodunit steeped in the rich, enticing, and romantic atmosphere of southern France.

By Andrei Kurkov, George Bird (Translator)
ISBN: 9781612190600
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Published: Melville House Publishing - February 21st, 2012

November 2014 Selection: ohn Le Carre meets Mikhail Bulgakov in this international crime thriller by the author of the acclaimed "Death and the Penguin"
The corpse of a distinguished general is found attached to an advertising balloon--and minus his thumb. Police Lieutenant Viktor Slutsky is sent in to investigate. So, too, is KGB officer Nik Tsensky. They begin their investigations unbeknownst to each other, but quickly find themselves mystified about developments caused by the other.
Thus begins a comedy of very dangerous errors as the two crisscross Europe, Russia, and the Ukraine, catalysts in a bizarre battle between the Russian and Ukrainian secret services.
What ensues is simultaneously hilarious, tragic, and suspenseful, with a fascinating cast of characters who would seem absurd if they weren't so compelling: a larger-than-life hitman, a deaf-and-dumb blonde, and a turtle. Then there's the gun that shoots backwards...
And as the two faithful investigators find themselves to be pawns in a story of post-Soviet collapse, it becomes--as usual in the work of this modern Russian master--an inspiring tale of resilience against the dark forces of the day.

By Wolf Haas, Annie Janusch (Translator)
ISBN: 9781612191133
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Published: Melville House Publishing - June 26th, 2012

October 2014 Selection: One of the most wildly popular detective series in EuropeNwhere each book has sold more than 300,000 copies--finally comes to the U.S. and UK. Haas' Detective Brenner series is timely, edgy and told in a quirky voice that's often hilarious, with a protagonist hard not to love.

ISBN: 9781616953003
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Published: Soho Crime - July 16th, 2013

September 2014 Selection: On a quiet street in downtown Amsterdam, the founder of a new religious society/commune--a group that calls itself "Hindist" and mixes elements of various "Eastern" traditions--is found hanging from a ceiling beam. Detective-Adjutant Gripstra and Sergeant de Gier of the Amsterdam police are sent to investigate what looks like a simple suicide, but they are immediately suspicious of the circumstances.
This now-classic novel, first published in 1975, introduces Janwillem van de Wetering's lovable Amsterdam cop duo of portly, worldly-wise Gripstra and handsome, contemplative de Gier. With its unvarnished depiction of the legacy of Dutch colonialism and the darker facets of Amsterdam's free drug culture, this excellent procedural asks the question of whether a murder may ever be justly committed.

ISBN: 9781616952990
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Published: Soho Crime - July 2nd, 2013

August 2014 Selection: It is just before Christmas and the marshal wants to go South to spend the holiday with his wife and family, but first he must recover from the flu (which has left the Florentine caribinieri short-handed) and also solve a murder. A seemingly respectable retired Englishman, living in a flat on the Via Maggio near the Santa Trinita bridge, was shot in the back during the night. He was well-connected and Scotland Yard has dispatched two officers to "assist" the Italians in solving the crime. But it is the marshal, a quiet observer, not an intellectual, who manages to figure out what happened, and why.

This Book Is Not Sold Online - In Store Special Order Only
ISBN: 9781904738015
Availability: Special Order
Published: Bitter Lemon Press - April 2005

July 2014 Selection: Some favours simply cannot be refused. Tonio agrees to write a love letter for Dario, a low-rent Paris gigolo. When Dario is murdered, a single bullet to the head, Tonio finds his friend has left him a small vineyard somewhere east of Naples. The wine is undrinkable but an elaborate scam has been set up. The smell of easy unbridled hatred of the locals. Mafiosi aren't choir boys, and monsignors can be very much like Mafiosi. A darkly comic, iconoclastic tale.

By Claudia Pineiro, Miranda France (Translator)
ISBN: 9781908524089
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Published: Bitter Lemon Press - August 6th, 2013

June 2014 Selection: Pablo Simo's life is a mess. His career as an architect is at a deadend; reduced to designing soulless office buildings desecrating the heart of Buenos Aires. His marriage seems to be one endless argument with his wife over the theatrics of their rebellious teenage daughter. To complicate matters, Pablo has long been attracted to sexy office secretary Marta Horvat, who is probably having an affair with his boss. Everything changes with the unexpected appearance of Leonor, a beautiful young woman who brings to light a crime that happened years before, a crime that everyone in the office wants forgotten, at all costs."

By Rolo Diez, Nick Caistor (Translator)
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ISBN: 9781904738046
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Published: Bitter Lemon Press - January 2005

May 2014 Selection: "Both a scathing and picaresque comedy, a biting and spicy concoction. Just like tequila."--Le Monde

It's not easy being a cop in Mexico City. Meet Carlito, a police detective with a complicated life. A wife, a mistress, children by both. He resorts to money laundering and arms dealing to finance his police activity. The money for justice must be found somewhere.

The corpse in the hotel room is that of a gringo with a weakness for blue movies. Carlito's maverick investigation leads him into a labyrinth of gang wars and corrupt politicians.

Rolo Diez, born in Argentina, was imprisoned for two years during the military dictatorship. He now lives in Mexico City, where he works as a novelist and screenwriter.

By Leonardo Padura, Peter Bush (Translator)
ISBN: 9781904738091
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Published: Bitter Lemon Press - May 2005

April 2014 Selection: "A magnificent novel. Haunted by the tragic story and passion of its characters."--"Magazine Litteraire"

The first of the Havana quartet featuring Inspector Mario Conde, a tropical Marlowe. A young transvestite in a beautiful red dress is found strangled in a Havana park. Conde's investigation into a violent murder exposes a stifling, corrupt society, a Cuban reality where nothing is what it seems. A dark and fascinating world of men and women born in the revolution who live without dreaming of exile and seek their identity in the midst of disaster.

Leonardo Padura lives in Cuba. He is a novelist, essayist, journalist and scriptwriter. "Havana Red" has won numerous literary prizes, including the Hammett prize in Spain.

ISBN: 9781609450922
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Published: Europa Editions - February 5th, 2013

March 2014 Selection: Vincent Naylor, just released from jail, resumes doing what he does best, planning for an armored car robbery. Bob Tidey, an honest policeman, discouraged by his colleagues making deals with criminals and about to commit perjury, is investigating the murder of a crooked banker. A call from an old acquaintance will change his course of investigation. Maura Coady, a retired nun living on regrets and bad memories, sees something that she can't ignore and decides to tell someone. She makes a phone call that sets in motion a violent fate.

ISBN: 9781934609897
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Published: Felony & Mayhem - October 16th, 2011

February 2014 Selection: The portly, methodical Inspector Singh is a thorn in the side of his bosses on the Singapore police department, so they send him off to Malaysia to monitor the trial of Chelsea Liew, a Singaporean beauty queen accused of killing her abusive millionaire ex-husband. The plot, revolving around the difference between secular and Islamic custody laws, is unexpectedly intricate and surprising. But the keenest pleasures of this book center on Inspector Singh, and his attempts to see justice served while somehow maneuvering around his excessively zealous sergeant, keeping his white sneakers clean, and scoring the occasional tasty snack.

ISBN: 9781569479513
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Published: Soho Press - June 7th, 2011

January 2014 Selection: American Iraq War veteran Ellie Cooper is down and out in Beijing when a chance encounter with a Uighur--a member of a Chinese Muslim minority--at the home of her sort-of boyfriend Lao Zhang turns her life upside down. Lao Zhang disappears, and suddenly multiple security organizations are hounding her for information. They say the Uighur is a terrorist. Ellie doesn't know what's going on, but she must decide whom to trust among the artists, dealers, collectors, and operatives claiming to be on her side--in particular, a mysterious organization operating within a popular online role-playing game. As she tries to elude her pursuers, she's haunted by memories of Iraq. Is what she did and saw there at the root of the mess she's in now?

By Fuminori Nakamura, Satoko Izumo (Translator), Stephen Coates (Translator)
ISBN: 9781616952020
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Published: Soho Press - January 15th, 2013

November 2013 Selection: A literary crime masterpiece that follows a Japanese pickpocket lost to the machinations of fate. Bleak and oozing existential dread, "The Thief" is simply unforgettable.
The Thief is a seasoned pickpocket. Anonymous in his tailored suit, he weaves in and out of Tokyo crowds, stealing wallets from strangers so smoothly sometimes he doesn't even remember the snatch. Most people are just a blur to him, nameless faces from whom he chooses his victims. He has no family, no friends, no connections.... But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him when Ishikawa, his first partner, reappears in his life, and offers him a job he can't refuse. It's an easy job: tie up an old rich man, steal the contents of the safe. No one gets hurt. Only the day after the job does he learn that the old man was a prominent politician, and that he was brutally killed after the robbery. And now the Thief is caught in a tangle even he might not be able to escape.

ISBN: 9781439172377
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Published: Simon & Schuster - April 20th, 2010

October 2013 Selection: Meet Vish Puri, India s most private investigator. Portly, persistent, and unmistakably Punjabi, he cuts a determined swath through modern India s swindlers, cheats, and murderers.
In hot and dusty Delhi, where call centers and malls are changing the ancient fabric of Indian life, Puri s main work comes from screening prospective marriage partners, a job once the preserve of aunties and family priests. But when an honest public litigator is accused of murdering his maidservant, it takes all of Puri s resources to investigate. With his team of undercover operatives Tubelight, Flush, and Facecream Puri combines modern techniques with principles of detection established in India more than two thousand years ago, and reveals modern India in all its seething complexity.

ISBN: 9781616952181
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Published: Soho Crime - March 5th, 2013

August 2013 Selection: In Johannesburg prosperous whites live in gated communities; when they exit their cars to open the gates, car-jackings are common. But seldom is the victim killed, much less shot twice, like Annette Botha. Piet Botha, the husband of the wealthy woman, is the primary suspect in his wife's murder.
P.I. Jade de Jong fled South Africa ten years ago after her father was killed. Now back in town, she offers to help her father's former assistant, Superintendent David Patel, with his investigation of this case. Under apartheid, Patel, of Indian descent, could never have attained his present position. But he is feeling pressure from his "old line" boss with respect to this investigation and fears lingering prejudice is at work.
As Jade probes into this and other recent car-jacking cases, a pattern begins to emerge, a pattern that goes back to her father's murder and that involves a vast and intricate series of crimes for profit.

ISBN: 9780547237787
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Published: Mariner Books - May 6th, 2009

July 2013 Selection: Fast-paced and utterly transporting, "Finding Nouf" is a riveting literary mystery and an unprecedented window into the lives of men and women in Saudi Arabia.

When sixteen-year-old Nouf goes missing, her prominent family calls on Nayir al-Sharqi, a pious desert guide, to lead the search party. Ten days later, just as Nayir is about to give up in frustration, her body is discovered by anonymous desert travelers. But when the coroner's office determines that Nouf died not of dehydration but from drowning, and her family seems suspiciously uninterested in getting at the truth, Nayir takes it upon himself to find out what really happened. He quickly realizes that if he wants to gain access to the hidden world of women, he will have to join forces with Katya Hijazi, a lab worker at the coroner's office who is bold enough to bare her face and to work in public. Their partnership challenges Nayir and forces him to reconcile his desire for female companionship within the parameters imposed by his beliefs.


By Esmahan Aykol, Ruth Whitehouse (Translator)
ISBN: 9781904738688
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Published: Bitter Lemon Press - June 21st, 2011

June 2013 Selection: This debut by a young Turkish woman novelist is set in her beloved Istanbul. The heroine, Kati Hirschel, is a foreigner and proud owner of the only mystery bookshop in town. When the director of a film starring an old school friend is found murdered in his hotel room, Kati cannot resist the temptation to start her own maverick investigation. After all, her friend Petra is the police's principal suspect, and reading all those detective novels must have taught Kati something.


This suspenseful tale of murder features a heroine who is funny, feisty and undresses men in her mind more often than she would like. It uses humor, social commentary, and even erotic fantasy to expose Western prejudices about Turkey, as well as Turkish stereotyping of other Europeans.

Esmahan Aykol was born in 1970 in Edirne, Turkey. She was a journalist for a number of Turkish publications and radio stations. After a stint as a bartender she turned to fiction writing. "Hotel Bosphorus" is her first novel and will be followed by two others featuring Kati Hirschel.

By Harri Nykanen, Kristian London (Translator)
ISBN: 9781904738923
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Published: Bitter Lemon Press - March 20th, 2012

May 2013 Selection: 'Nykanen's twist on Nordic crime fiction may be the most inventive of the year. Ariel Kafka, a middle-aged bachelor, is a detective in Helsinki (think early Harry Hole) and, as far as he knows, the only Jew on the entire Helsinki police force, which is why he's picked to head up the investigation of a series of murders that began with two Arabic-looking men who may have been shouting Jewish obscenities as they died. Set during the days leading up to Yom Kippur, this complex tale moves quickly, as Ari attempts to figure it all out. With pressure from his colleagues, police administration, his brother, and the local Jewish community, can he uncover everything before the holiest day in the Jewish calender? The clever combination of classic Jewish themes with the traditions of Nordic crime makes for a refreshing tale with wide appeal. And the subtle humor, combined with a hero who is not completely depressed and alcoholic, makes it even better. Not just for readers of Nordic fiction, this should also be suggested to those who relate to New York Jewish detectives, including Lenny Briscoe (from Law & Order) and John Munch (from Homicide and Law & Order: SVU), as well as readers who enjoy the black humor of Stuart MacBride.' Booklist

By Ake Edwardson, Laurie Thompson (Translator)
ISBN: 9780143037187
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Published: Penguin Books - April 25th, 2006

April 2013 Selection: Like his fellow countryman Henning Mankell, ake Edwardson is a successful figure on the international mystery scene and a brilliant discovery for lovers of intricate, psychologically charged, and stylish crime novels. With Sun and Shadow, Edwardson introduces readers to detective Erik Winter, the youngest chief inspector in Sweden, who wears sharp suits, cooks gourmet meals, has a penchant for jazz, and is about to become a father. He's also moody and intuitive, his mind inhabiting the crimes he's trying to solve. In this atmospheric, heart-stopping tale, Winter's troubles abound--and a bloody double murder on his doorstep is just the beginning.

ISBN: 9780312380663
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Published: Minotaur Books - July 8th, 2008

February 2013 Selection: A cross between "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" and "A Year in Provence," this highly acclaimed thriller is a thoroughly original and completely engaging crime novel of international espionage.

ISBN: 9780307454690
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Published: Vintage Books USA - April 6th, 2010

January 2013 Selection: Meet Benoit Courreges, aka Bruno, a policeman in a small village in the South of France. He's a former soldier who has embraced the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life. He has a gun but never wears it; he has the power to arrest but never uses it. But then the murder of an elderly North African who fought in the French army changes all that. Now Bruno must balance his beloved routines--living in his restored shepherd's cottage, shopping at the local market, drinking wine, strolling the countryside--with a politically delicate investigation. He's paired with a young policewoman from Paris and the two suspect anti-immigrant militants. As they learn more about the dead man's past, Bruno's suspicions turn toward a more complex motive.

By Teresa Solana, Peter Bush (Translator)
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ISBN: 9781904738343
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Published: Bitter Lemon Press - March 2009

October 2012 Selection: Another day in Barcelona, another slimy politician's wife is suspected of infidelity. Lluis Font discovers a portrait of his wife in an exhibition that leads him to conclude he is being cuckolded by the artist. Concerned only about the potential political fallout, he hires twins Eduard and Pep, private detectives with a supposed knack for helping the wealthy with their "dirty laundry." Their office is adorned with false doors leading to nonexistent private rooms, a mysterious secretary who is always away, and a broken laptop computer picked up on the street. The case turns ugly when Font's wife is found poisoned by a "marron glace "from a box of sweets delivered anonymously.


This is a deftly plotted, bitingly funny mystery novel. A satire of Catalan politics and a fascinating insight into the life and habits of Barcelona's inhabitants, diurnal and nocturnal.

ISBN: 9781612190365
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Published: Melville House Publishing - February 14th, 2012

September 2012 Selection: At a meeting of the central committee of Spain's Communist Party, in a room both locked and guarded, general secretary Fernando Garrido is stabbed to death. But the Party refuses to believe it was an inside job.
They turn to former member Pepe Carvalho. But he's soon out of his depth in unfamiliar Madrid, where he spends nearly as much time investigating the chorizo, lamb-kidneys, and tripe, and the uninspiring selection of wine on offer, as he does murder.
With time out for his signature book burning (Engels's "The Housing Question"), cooking (shellfish risotto), and an ill-advised bajativo (cognac, creme de menthe) inspired romp with Gladys, Pepe Carvalho leads a wry and cynical tour through the labyrinth of post-Fascist Spanish politics amid violent jostling for power.

ISBN: 9780142004715
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Published: Penguin Books - May 31st, 2005

August 2012 pick: Andrea Camilleri's novels starring Inspector Montalbano have become an international sensation and have been translated from Italian into eight languages, ranging from Dutch to Japanese. The Shape of Water is the first book in this sly, witty, and engaging series with its sardonic take on Sicilian life. Early one morning, Silvio Lupanello, a big shot in the village of Vigata, is found dead in his car with his pants around his knees. The car happens to be parked in a rough part of town frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers, and as the news of his death spreads, the rumors begin. Enter Inspector Salvo Montalbano, Vigata's most respected detective. With his characteristic mix of humor, cynicism, compassion, and love of good food, Montalbano goes into battle against the powerful and the corrupt who are determined to block his path to the real killer. This funny and fast-paced Sicilian page-turner will be a delicious discovery for mystery afficionados and fiction lovers alike.

ISBN: 9781608190546
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Published: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - April 26th, 2011

July 2012 Pick: In this accomplished and riveting thriller, police inspector Alec Blume battles organized crime, political pressure, and his own demons as he investigates the death of Arturo Clemente. Blume, a clever American expatriate with a disposition against authority, soon realizes that he is being watched from on high. Forced to negotiate with powerful, suspicious people on all sides of the law, Blume must rely on instinct, drive, and luck to find the killer.

By Michele Giuttari, Howard Curtis (Translator)
ISBN: 9780349120065
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Published: Little, Brown Young Readers - September 2011

June 2012 Pick: The two faces of Florenceone a beautiful courtesan offering its bounty of fine art, the other jealously guarding secret plots and betrayalsdominate Giuttaris strong debut, a crime novel that reflects the authors expertise as a former police chief. Chief Supt. Michele Ferrara, after 20 years on Florences police force, remains in love with both his wife, Petra, and his adopted city, which has taught him evil, and only evil, is immortal and never fades. After receiving an anonymous threatening letter announcing the start of a new series of homicides, Ferrara gets on the case, though he remains haunted by the earlier unsolved Monster of Florence murders that have made him suspect political collusion and corruption. An honest, compassionate cop, Ferrara patiently works his way to a tortuous and shocking solution, providing a stable focal point in a city rotting under the weight of appearances, a microcosm, perhaps, of all 21st-century civilization.

ISBN: 9781400030477
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Published: Vintage Books - September 14th, 2004

May 2012 Pick: Vlado Petric, a former homicide detective in Sarajevo, is now living in exile, and making a meagre living working at a Berlin construction site, when an American investigator for the International War Crimes Tribunal recruits him to return home on a mission. The assignment sounds simple enough. He is to help capture an aging Nazi collaborator who has become a war profiteer. But nothing is simple in the Balkans: Petric is also being used as bait to lure his quarry into the open, and when the operation goes sour he is drawn across Europe into a dangerous labyrinth of secret identities, stolen gold, and horrifying discoveries about his own family's past. Intelligent and suspenseful, The Small Boat of Great Sorrows brings together chilling crimes, the lies people live and the cold facts of international politics into a masterful, electrifying thriller.

ISBN: 9780312332051
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Published: Minotaur Books - May 29th, 2007

March 2012 Pick: The personal becomes political in the latest in Steinhauer's award-nominated, acclaimed Eastern European crime series.