Snippet: Carme Riera’s second “crime” novel

Carme Riera, Venjaré la teva mort [I will avenge your death], 2018, 320 p.

publisher’s summary:

Martyred by the sense of guilt, the former detective Elena Martínez remembers an old case in which she contributed to the condemnation of two innocent people.

2004: the mysterious disappearance of a businessman is only the tip of the iceberg of a dark plot that spreads out its tentacles all over Catalonia. At the request of the family, the young detective Elena Martínez takes over the case. The first clue: a valuable collection of “caganers” [typical Catalan Nativity figure] and a strange obituary.

In the line of Natura quasi morta [her first crime novel], this is a crime novel with a touch of humor in which the “who” is more important than the “how”.

excerpted from Carles Geli’s article in El País:

Instead of “black”, as in Spanish and Catalan crime novels are called “black” novels [novela negra], Riera says she painted this one a “dark gray”.

She says gray because there is a lot of white in the humor. Her protagonist is from L’Hospitalet de Llobregat [next to Barcelona], of Galician orgins, 35 years old, separated, with a Fox Terrier, and who has to investigate the disappearance of a businessman in the Catalonia of 2010 [sic!?]. Between tax evasion, corruption and pedophilia, the protagonist ends up tortured by a feeling of guilt and sunk between pain and vengeance because she contributes to the condemnation of two innocents.

The author says her protagonist has got nothing to do with herself, not even in her language. As to the corruption, Riera wanted to give “flashes of the reality that surrounds us”.
As happens regulary in Riera’s works, there is a patina of feminism in her protagonist: “The right to equality for women is a moral question.” She is also a strong supporter of the freedom of expression, even if that expression is not politically correct.

There exists this 2016 post on Carme Riera. This blogger liked the few works of hers that he has read so far.

SOURCE: Grup 62 (Planeta, publisher); El País, March 20, 2018


Snippet: Fortes’ “September can wait”

Susana Fortes, Septiembre puede esperar [September can wait], 2017, 272 p.

publisher’s summary:

A missing writer. An unsolved mystery. A female student who has decided to reveal the secrets of the past.

On May 8, 1955, the writer Emily J. Parker disappears in London while the city celebrates the tenth anniversary of the end of World War II. There will be nothing ever heard of her again.

Years later, Rebeca, a Spanish student of philology, decides to move to London to prepare her PhD thesis on the mysterious writer. During the investigation, Rebeca’s infancy and family life interweave with Emily’s past in the London of the Blitz and of the postwar, in a framework of spying and love relationships that make up a strange puzzle that is as suggestive as it is difficult to interpret.

Susana Fortes creates a passionate plot of mystery and psychological intrigue that encompass the world of spying as welll as the most personal nooks of her protagonists.


excerpted from Juan Ángel Juristo’s review:

The life of this pioneer of crytography and informatics [Alan Turing] has been brought to the movie screen on different occasions: Ex Machina, Breaking the code or The imitation game… the most famous novel reference is Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001.

Alan Pearson, who had worked with Alan Turing at Bletchley Park, is married to Emily Jane Parker, a brilliant novelist who disappears…

“…seasoned with literary winks to James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and James Barrie that grant the novel a certain literary complicity. A good thriller.”

The Wikipedia offers this author article in English.

The review of Septiembre puede esperar sounded more interesting to this blogger than the publisher’s information…

SOURCE: Planeta (publisher); review in “Cultura/s,” La Vanguardia, Jan. 13, 2018, p. 8 [printed edition].

Snippet: Jordi Pujolà’s “Reykjavik barman” (commercial thriller)

Novelas Jordi Pujola Eds. Camelot. A la venta en FNAC, Amazon, Casa Libro

Jordi Pujolà, El barman de Reykjavík [The barman of Reykjavik], 2017, 284 p.

publisher’s summary:

Marc Cel, a nice and sensible guy who never dares to break the rules or go against his parents, turns -without looking for it- into a prestigious lawyer in Spain. Everything in his life seems to fit in. But one day, as if he had challenged the laws of the universe, a series of misfortunes hovers over him and that which appeared solid breaks down like a piece of decoration. Depressed and disoriented, Marc decides to escape in search of a new life in Iceland. There everything will be different: the weather, the language, the landscape, the customs, the people… At last he finds work as a barman in the “Vegas” club, an underground casino situated in a basement with a living shark, and he gets to know Fran Sasieta, another young Spaniard who traveled to the island in search of a young woman from Iceland whom he got to know years earlier in Barcelona. Nevertheless, though Marc has changed and is happy with his new life, a hitman is following in his steps and he needs to face the problems that he left unsolved. El barman de Reykjavik is a thriller with breakneck rhythm on the unexpected turns of life, human fragility, and the fight for one’s dreams.

from Xavi Ayén’s review:

[…] a commercial thriller, full of action, surprises, crime, sex, drugs, and in which as a backdrop appear the customs and philosophy of the Icelanders, counterposed to those of the characters from Spain. […]

[Pujolà explains:] “The Icelanders are, among the Nordic countries, like the Catalans in Spain: they have got a cold façade, but when they open up and get to know somebody, they will keep stable relationships.” […] One of the messages between the lines is that it is worth while fighting for what you want. There is a very appropiate Hindu saying: ‘Try to realize your dreams but don’t explain them to anybody.’ If you do it, the tendency of the others is to discourage you. Always.”

Pujolà is author of the blog [Spanish], a reference for travelers. […]

Jordi Pujolà (Barcelona, 1972) has lived in Iceland since 2013.

SOURCE: Camelot (publisher); Jordi Pujola’s websiteLa Vanguardia, Dec. 30, 2017, p. 33 [printed edition]

Snippet: José C. Vales’ “Celeste 65”

José C. Vales, Celeste 65, 2017, 592 p.

publisher’s summary:

A new literary comedy set in 1960s Nice

In the 1960s, Linton Blint, a man with a grey life, embittered by his lack of character and mistreated by his family, sees himself forced to flee from England.

Though he is terrified by a world that he mistrusts and that he doesn’t know (the pop and rebel one of the 1960s), he gets to the city of Nice, on the French riviera, where he is marveled by all the brilliance and glow of summer in one of the most glamorous cities of the world, encircled by pop music, very angry fashion and movie stars.

He stays at the luxurious hotel Negresco, and without really understanding how, he ends up involved in a delirious intrigue in which there mix the follies of the 60s with the large scale political conflicts that also characterized this epoch.

Entangled in a cruel criminal spiderweb, Linton will have to overcome his fears and his bewilderment to become a hero, both in love and in the brilliant society of Nice.


from a review by Lilian Neuman:

… The readers will believe in this gallery of formidable and intriguing Cote d’Azur characters. …

A good affair with lethal ladies and bodyguards. And that flows in this foam of the days that José Vales (Zamora, 1965) –translator and Nadal prize winner with Cabaret Biarritz—  captures with irony and humor, with talent and love for a time and a place. …


Sounds like good entertainment for dark winter days; and the book has got a nice cover. There is a 2015 post on Vales’ earlier, prize-winning novel.


SOURCE: Destino (Planeta, publisher); review in “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, Nov. 4, 2017, p. 8 [printed edition]

Snippet: Sánchez Pardos’ “Lady of the Well”

Daniel Sánchez Pardos, La Dama del Pozo [The Lady of the Well], 2017, 448 p.

Another novel set in 19th century Barcelona, and Planeta, the publisher, offers a summary in English on its foreign rights pages.

“… a very good piece of crime fiction that glows, among other reasons, due to its great protagonist.”

Lilian Neumann in her review in “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, July 22, 2017, pp. 6-7.

Snippet: Torrent’s “Individuals like us”

Ferran Torrent, Individus com nosaltres [Individuals like us], 2017, 368 p.

publisher’s summary:

The best Ferran Torrent is here again with a new, frenetic book. The implacable portrait of the daily life of a country at a certain time.

It’s the beginning of 2015 and the political panorama in Valencia will shortly change in ways unheard of during decades… but the people who live against the stream cannot and don’t want to stop doing it. Marc Sendra, a journalist turned into self-employed after leaving his newspaper, is preparing a novel on a historic robbery in downtown Valencia. He does so with the help of old acquaintances, such as El Llargo, El Messié, Father Rafel and the Mythic Regino, as well as the retired detective Toni Butxana, the Torres brothers and the former police commissioner Tordera. However, there stumble in a totally unexpected kidnapping and an assassination; elements that he himself wanted to add to the book as incentives, and that are suddenly becoming a part of the most immediate reality…

Ferran Torrent (Sedaví, Valencia region, 1951) is a writer and journalist.


From a review by Julià Guillamon:

Torrent has created a formula that always works, with lovable characters, with different plots of intrigue falcated with each other, like a big farolero poker game or a microscopic billiards, with a critical and melancholic view of the autonomous region of Valencia that in each new installment incorporates the novelties of the moment.

… Torrent never disappoints… you leave with the pockets full of simple and honest fun [casino metaphor].

There a quite a lot of previous titles written by Ferran Torrent since the 1980s in which star the same characters, or at least some of them; the most recent:

Cambres d’acer inoxidable [Stainless steel chambers], 2000

Societat limitada [Ltd.], 2002

Judici final [Final judgment], 2006

Només socis [Only members/Members only (?)], 2008

Un dinar un dia qualsevol [Lunch some day], 2015

According to the Catalan writers’ association, some of his works have been translated into French, German, Italian and Spanish.

SOURCE: Grup 62 (Planeta, publisher); review in “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, June 17, 2017, p. 43 [printed edition]