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By V Sanjay Kumar. 2017
"Kumar evokes [Mumbai] with lyrical prose."--Publishers WeeklyIncluded in Publishers Weekly's Crime Fiction feature on police corruption and brutality."A melancholy cop's… obsessions are just the tip of the iceberg as he leads a two-fisted team determined to clean up Mumbai's mean streets...Kumar's style, blunt but often by turns poetic and droll, is arresting...As unusual as it is compelling, this entry lays the groundwork for an entertaining series."--Kirkus Reviews"[A] gripping thriller...Kumar has created some thoroughly intriguing characters...but the most fascinating of Kumar’s characters is Mumbai itself--enormous, crowded, hyperactive, roiling, stunningly rich and grindingly poor, and teeming with almost unfathomable energy. International-crime fans should flock to this one."--Booklist"The Third Squad enveloped me in Mumbai, in its strangeness even to people who call it home. Each of the many odd but totally real characters who populate this book shines a light on the city and on one another. It's a page-turner, but as I got closer to the end I slowed down because I didn't want to have to leave this world."--S.J. Rozan, author (as Sam Cabot) of Skin of the Wolf"Against a backdrop of debilitating poverty, ancient religion, staggering wealth, and corruption, Mumbai comes alive in The Third Squad as the perfect storm for twenty-first-century noir. Driving this absolutely compelling tale is Karan, a police sharpshooter who is essentially a trained assassin. Initially distanced from his own actions by both Asperger's syndrome and Old World devotion to authority, he's ultimately forced to reconcile personal morality with obedience in a grim new age of blind opportunism."--Tim McLoughlin, author of Heart of the Old CountryThe Third Squad is an arresting, ripped-from-the-headlines noir novel that deftly explores how in recent decades, to ostensibly combat the rising tide of criminality in Mumbai's underworld, the Indian Police Service has carried out many hundreds of extrajudicial assassinations of suspected criminals. Karan, an expert sharpshooter in an elite branch of the Indian police dispensed with dishing out this peculiar blend of vigilante justice, has a difficult choice to make: should he continue to blindly follow orders from his superiors, regardless of their moral standing, or should he take matters into his own hands and do what he believes to be right?Belonging to a hit squad whose members all fall somewhere along the autism spectrum, Karan, who has been diagnosed with mild Asperger's syndrome, is notorious for his ruthless precision and efficiency in carrying out these assassinations, yet he remains aloof and distant. Gradually, his impenetrable façade begins to crack, and Karan's emotional and psychological depth reveals itself as he is forced to make decisions where the stakes are literally life-and-death. Also at play is the looming specter of the city of Mumbai itself, seemingly at the cusp of a neoliberal era of enlightenment and progress, yet still trapped under the ineluctable burden of old Bombay history, which can never quite be forgotten or suppressed.Dark and gritty, raw and fast-paced, and never sentimental, The Third Squad distills the best aspects of classic American noir writing into a uniquely Indian context, revealing V. Sanjay Kumar as a singular talent on the crime fiction circuit.
By Seicho Matsumoto, Louise Heal Kawai. 2016
"A master crime writer . . . Seicho Matsumoto's thrillers dissect Japanese society."-The New York Times Book Review"A stellar psychological… thriller with a surprising and immensely satisfying resolution that flows naturally from the book's complex characterizations.Readers will agree that Matsumoto (1909-1992) deserves his reputation as Japan's Georges Simenon.-Publishers Weekly.While on a business trip to Kobe, Tsuneo Asai receives the news that his wife Eiko has died of a heart attack. Eiko had a heart condition so the news of her death wasn't totally unexpected. But the circumstances of her demise left Tsuneo, a softly-spoken government bureaucrat, perplexed. How did it come about that his wife-who was shy and withdrawn, and only left their house twice a week to go to haiku meetings-ended up dead in a small shop in a shady Tokyo neighborhood?When Tsuneo goes to apologize to the boutique owner for the trouble caused by his wife's death he discovers the villa Tachibana near by, a house known to be a meeting place for secret lovers. As he digs deeper into his wife's recent past, he must eventually conclude that she led a double life... Seicho Matsumoto was Japan's most successful thriller writer. His first detective novel, Points and Lines, sold over a million copies in Japan. Vessel of Sand, published in English as Inspector Imanishi Investigates in 1989, sold over four million copies and became a movie box-office hit.
By Eric Gamalinda. 2014
"Darkly spellbinding...With a keen eye for splendor amid the grotesque, Gamalinda writes with a poet's heart and a philosopher's mind,… while enthralling readers with emotional, gritty storytelling."--Booklist"A mesmerizing story full of mystery...intricate...beautiful writing."--Publishers Weekly"Behind Eric Gamalinda's jagged, ice-pick prose is an urgent need to connect and to understand. Are we more than the sum of our histories? What is this accident of being? Why is there anything at all? Written at the edge of a sinkhole and determined to resist its pull, The Descartes Highlands is about nothing less than the whole bewildering dream that is human consciousness."--David Hollander, author of L.I.E."No one writes like Eric Gamalinda, though we wish we all could. The Descartes Highlands, an amazing work of brutal candor girded by a philosopher's calm, entwines our present despair with the horrific pasts we will not escape. One of the most dazzling novelists writing in America today, Eric Gamalinda has an almost classical Greek faith in the redemptive power of art. This novel delivers a commitment to beauty as unflinching as the bleak truths it tells--about globalization, about colonialism, about our human madness--offering in turn what seems our only, paradoxical hope: the pained telling of our story--a gorgeous and bitter feast."--Gina Apostol, author of Gun Dealers' Daughter"Gamalinda's characters are both struck by the curse and graced by the blessing of their cosmopolitan condition. The story wraps together distant places, seemingly different from one another but all contaminated by the same evil: human solitude and our inability to engage in love and genuine relationships. Gamalinda would not say it out loud, but it seems there is hope for this world after all."--Diego Marani, author of New Finnish Grammar and The Last of the Vostyachs"Like Walt Whitman, Gamalinda contains multitudes--but with a better sense of humor."--Barry Schwabsky, art critic of The Nation"Eric Gamalinda's attention and spirit are vibrant."--Michael Burkard, Guggenheim Fellow and Whiting Award winnerTwo men, each unaware of the other, share a common family secret: they were sold for adoption by their American father shortly after their births in the Philippines. Three alternating stories interweave the experiences of father Andrew Breszky and the two sons who try to connect and piece together the puzzle of their reckless, impulsive father. One lives in New York and the other grows up in the south of France, later traveling all over Asia as a documentary filmmaker. Both will discover that their relationships somehow echo that of the young man whose history eludes them.Celebrated Filipino writer Eric Gamalinda's international debut novel is a contemporary work of ideas that combines mystery, film noir, and existential philosophy. Highly intricate and written in a style reminiscent of the maverick narrative techniques of such filmmakers as Andrei Tarkovsky and Béla Tarr, and with some of the philosophical underpinnings of Michel Houellebecq or Javier Marías. Named after the region of the moon where Apollo 16 landed in the same year these men were born, The Descartes Highlands demonstrates that for lives marked by unrelieved loneliness, the only hope lies in the redemptive power of love.
By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan. 2014
"Singapore, with its great wealth and great poverty existing amid ethnic, linguistic, and cultural tensions, offers fertile ground for bleak… fiction, as shown by the 14 tales in this solid Akashic noir anthology...Tan has assembled a strong lineup of Singapore natives and knowledgeable visitors for this volume exploring the dark side of a fascinating country."--Publishers Weekly"Singapore Noir is another fine addition to the Akashic's Noir series. Under Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan's tutelage, the stories puncture the stereotypes associated with Singapore and push the genre in new directions."--Chicago Center for Literature and PhotographyIncluded in Recent Books of Note, Toronto StarA Book of the Week pick at Susan Blumber-Kason's blog"Singapore Noir is for the Noir fiction lover."--A Bibliophile's Reverie"If you like noir and would like to catch up on the seedy underbelly of one of the Four Asian Tigers (Dragons), give this anthology a read."--Write LiesLaunched with the summer '04 award-winning best seller Brooklyn Noir, Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies. Each book is comprised of all-new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.Brand-new stories by: Colin Goh, Simon Tay/Donald Tee Quee Ho, Philip Jeyaretnam, Colin Cheong, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, Monica Bhide, S.J. Rozan, Lawrence Osborne, Suchen Christine Lim, Ovidia Yu, Damon Chua, Johann S. Lee, Dave Chua, and Nury Vittachi.From the introduction by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan:"Say Singapore to anyone and you'll likely hear one of a few words: Caning. Fines. Chewing gum.For much of the West, the narrative of Singapore--a modern Southeast Asian city-state perched on an island on the tip of the Malay Peninsula--has been marked largely by its government's strict laws and unwavering enforcement of them...As much as I understand these outside viewpoints, I have always lamented that the quirky and dark complexities of my native country's culture rarely seem to make it past its borders...Beneath its sparkling veneer is a country teeming with shadows...And its stories remain. The rich stories that attracted literary lions W. Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling to hold court at the Raffles Hotel (where the Singapore Sling was created) are still sprinkled throughout its neighborhoods. And in the following pages, you'll get the chance to discover some of them...You'll find stories from some of the best contemporary writers in Singapore--three of them winners of the Singapore Literature Prize, essentially the country's Pulitzer: Simon Tay, writing as Donald Tee Quee Ho, tells the story of a hard-boiled detective who inadvertently wends his way into the underbelly of organized crime, Colin Cheong shows us a surprising side to the country's ubiquitous cheerful 'taxi uncle,' while Suchen Christine Lim spins a wistful tale of a Chinese temple medium whose past resurges to haunt her...As for mine, I chose a setting close to my heart--the kelongs, or old fisheries on stilts, that once dotted the waters of Singapore but are gradually disappearing. I have a deep sense of romance about these kelongs, along with the many other settings, characters, nuances, and quirks that you'll see in these stories. They're intense, inky, nebulous. There is evil, sadness, a foreboding. And liars, cheaters, the valiant abound.This is a Singapore rarely explored in Western literature--until now. No Disneyland here; but there is a death penalty."
By Cath Staincliffe. 2016
'Stunning' - Ann CleevesEvery parent's worst gap year nightmare...After graduating, Lori Maddox heads off travelling and arrives in China where… she finds work as a private English tutor. Back in Manchester, her parents Jo and Tom follow her adventures on her blog. Suddenly communication stops. When the silence persists a frantic Jo and Tom report her missing. But it's impossible to find out anything from so far away, so they travel to Chengdu to search for their daughter. Landing in a totally unfamiliar country, with no knowledge of the customs or language, and receiving scant help from the local authorities, Jo and Tom are forced to turn detective. It's an unbearably difficult challenge and, as the days pass, the fear that Lori is lost for good grows ever larger...Praise for Cath Staincliffe:'Harrowing and humane. A real knockout' Ian Rankin'It's always exciting to see a writer get better and better and Cath Staincliffe is doing just that' Val McDermid'Remarkable depth ... The most grown-up writer in British crime fiction' Telegraph