15 black novels to start 2020 and enjoy BCNegra | Elementary Blog


The beginning of the year is a somewhat curious time for the publishing world. With the big news waiting for better times after the Christmas splurge, the black genre stands as the great protagonist. Aided by the presence of BCNegra as a stage of agitation and encounter (This year from January 30 to February 9) the publishers publish notable titles by leading authors, many of them present in Barcelona since Thursday. That is why we have chosen among the sea of ​​novelties and have rescued some books published last year with a double objective: to propose diverse and interesting readings and, for those who can, offer a non-exhaustive reading guide for BCNegra. Come in and read.

Under the flames, Hervé Le Corre (Reservoir Books, translation by Teresa Clavel). From the first line the heartbeat of The Miserables In this immense novel that, with a wise mix of genres, portrays the final struggle of the Paris Commune and inserts in it a crime to be investigated by an amateur policeman, former bookbinder, elected to the office by the people. Full of memorable characters (a mysterious coachman seeking redemption, an opportunistic psychopath, a wonderful fighter for newly discovered freedom) Under the flames It is one of the examples of why Le Corre is a live classic of the genre in France. Here it is known from the beginning who is being persecuted and why but it does not matter. The dialogues of revolutionaries with the world collapsing at their feet are anthological. The effort of that circumstantial police to reach the truth moves. The set is one of the books of the year.

Portrait of the Argentine writer Dolores Reyes.


Portrait of the Argentine writer Dolores Reyes.

Eat dirt, Dolores Reyes (Stealth). Chosen one Book of the week by Babelia in September 2019Cometierra is a story from the margin, a black novel whose resolution is in the hands of a young seer, who, in effect, eats land to be able to search for the disappeared, solve crimes, get closer to the truth. A fantastic budget that acquires all the credibility it needs thanks to the voice with which Reyes gives the protagonist in a story built by the force of the language of an author who debuted in the novel with this lyrical and overwhelming story, a radical approach to macho violence. Cometierra lives with his brother "the Walter", knows that his father killed his mother, that his teacher Ana, missing, is dead. Seeks to turn the gift into something more than a condemnation. Look for a name, a meaning to life.

If you are more curious, you can read this interview with the author

Mandible, Monica Ojeda (Candaya). The Ecuadorian author says that in good times creepypastas It doesn't matter what but how. But the truth is that she has built a novel in which these two elements rise thanks to a powerful language to build an obsessive and disturbing universe in which the reader feels trapped. A girl from a posh school is kidnapped by her teacher, whom she and her friends have been harassing for months. This is what the reader knows in the first pages of this special novel. What you can't imagine, what you can't imagine, is all that comes next. Forget type surprises thriller or of spectacular turns, here the engine of obsession, of obsessions, of fear, of the unsaid, of what we did and do not want to tell, is what moves everything. The book is from 2018, true, but do not stop looking for this author if they are by BCNegra.

Here I leave the review of Carlos Pardo in Babelia.

Shadows of Reykjavik, Anthony Adeane (RBA, translation by Pablo Álvarez). In 1974 two people disappeared in a few months in Iceland. There, disappearances in rural areas are more common because of the weather and the night that is installed for months. Crimes, on the other hand, are somewhat unusual and this double event revolutionized Icelandic society. Adeane, a BBC journalist and a good connoisseur of the country, obsessively delves into a case in which one sees how the police cannot investigate because it has no practice, where some of the hidden miseries of an advanced and very particular society are revealed. The set is a remarkable true crime. The book is from 2019, but it can still be found without problem.

If you want to read more about this booming genre, Here I leave the report that I did in his day

Antonio Manzini


Antonio Manzini

Dust and shadow, Antonio Manzini (Black Salamandra, translation by Irene Oliva). Rocco Schiavone returns, as great as ever, with his sarcasm, his melancholy, his marijuana to get out of the daily tedium, his scale of "Cumshot" to measure what bothers him, his Clarks (he goes for the 16th pair in 10 months in Aosta, far from his beloved Rome, fallen out of favor). The plot begins with the murder of a transsexual but unfolds almost unintentionally, without the reader realizing, until reaching the high spheres, the eternal corruption of power. The mental and provincial agents that form the team of the deputy (non-commissioner) Schiavone, the impossible love for Caterina or her neighbor Gabriele, a disastrous teenager for whom Rocco is a father figure, form an endearing set. The humor, so necessary, and the ode to true friendship are seamlessly combined with violent stories in which our hero usually leads to losing. Fan of the detective series as I am, I can say that it is difficult to reach the best level in the sixth installment. Manzini has succeeded.

Here I leave my tribute To a great character.

In BCNegra, the Italian author will be with Alicia Giménez Bartlett. He has no new novel, but he created Petra Delicado, an agent of the National Police in Barcelona when the peseta still existed, a character that is still as alive and contemporary as if it had been written yesterday. In case you get curious

The last Kiss, James Crumley (Salamandra Black, translation by Enrique de Hériz). Crumley is not going to be in Barcelona, ​​he died in 2008, but Commissioner Carlos Zanón has prepared a tribute that coincides with the reissue in Spanish of the best book by a unique and original author. The protagonist is C.W. Sughrue, Vietnam veteran, private investigator, alcoholic, visceral and honest, with a certain tendency to become fond of and fall in love with the people he pursues accompanied by an alcoholic bulldog. The excuse, the search for a writer with a tendency to escape, an argument that gives rise to a road movie and to a display of irony, wisdom and style rarely seen in the genre. And above it is translated by the longed for Enrique de Hériz.

Sarah Ikker's Dishonor, Yasmina Khadra (Alliance, translation by Wenceslao- Carlos Lozano). If they want to be comfortable reading a genre novel they have made a mistake at the window. Khadra returns to present a story with classic elements to dismantle the miseries of a society, in this case Tangier, classist, macho and corrupt. There is in this novel in which we follow the footsteps of Lieutenant Idriss Ikker behind the track of the rapist of his wife a series of characters, especially the two main ones, who flee from any topic, that bother or outrage the reader, something in which the Algerian ex-military is an expert (read if not, for example, Khalil, also in Alliance). In France, some critics highlighted the love story that, they said, contains this novel. It makes my hair stand on end and I don't know if it's love or something much darker.

cross, Nicolás Ferraro, (Crime). Now that this black novel is published in Spain (oh, the Spanish publishing market, what a beautiful maze) is a good time to recommend it. Lover of the genre as few, excellent reader and great conversationalist, Ferraro knows what is done and from the first moment offers a book with these ingredients: violence, cross loyalties, internal conflicts and good doses of action. Thomas is a cross. The Cruz, for the most part, are violent bastards and put in drugs on one side and another of the business. But Thomas is not like that. Now, when his brother gets into a mess and annoys those who do not owe in the fateful triangle that forms the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, Tomás rethinks everything. The book, finalist of Dashiell Hammett in 2017, has a lot of action; violence, not a little, and literature. If you feel like strong emotions, open it.

The Swedish writer Niklas Natt och Dag, author of '1793'.


The Swedish writer Niklas Natt och Dag, author of '1793'.

1793, Nicklas Natt och Dag (Salamander, translation by Patricia Antón de Vez). This lord of such a sound surname is an aristocrat of one of the most important families in Sweden and, also, the person in charge of this hybrid between black and historical novel that, as with Le Corre, knows how to take the best of both. As i counted Carles Geli in his report from Stockholm, this is the first part of a trilogy that will be translated into thirty countries and of which more than 300,000 copies have been sold in Sweden alone. An atrocity. The protagonist is the lawyer Cecil Winge, a Cartesian guy, a spirit ahead of his time. The plot uses the classic mutilated body found in the river without elements to identify it that forces Winge (a man on the verge of death, one of the best characters I've encountered lately) and his assistant (a former manco that swims it has to do with Winge) to look for the identity of the murderer and the murdered. A detective game that the author uses to show us the Stockholm of the time, its tensions and its revolutionary dreams.

Bloody january, Alan Parks (Tusquets, translation by Juan Trejo). Here I leave the witness to LAURA FERNÁNDEZ: “Harry McCoy is a tough guy, or, at least, that's what he looks like. He grew up in an orphanage, and, although his job as a detective should stop him, he is always fiddling with what should not be done. But what happens when a tough guy must face the most abominable of imaginable cases? To the classic case that marks a before and after not only in the life of a detective but in the history of a city? That nothing you do will seem enough until the culprit is behind bars. But what has happened? They have found six bodies in a week. The place? Glasgow The moment? 1973, the year in which the heroine begins to plan on the city and discard the weakest. McCoy pulls the thread of the pair of first bodies - that of a girl whom an almost teenager has shot in a downtown street just before committing suicide - and ends up before the bell of the house of the richest family in Glasgow: Dunlop For the Dunlop, nothing is impossible. They squeeze, with their money, those below, because those below bring them carelessly. Here is the beginning of a new series, the birth of a new old instinctive detective, scoundrel, bighead and Scotsman. ”

Seven graves, one winter, Christoffer Petersen (RBA, translation by Cristina Martín). Before the cold comes, gravediggers in a remote area of ​​Greenland dig seven graves for future dead. However, in this case they do not know if they will be enough. The arrival in the Matse area, a pre-retired police officer with health problems after having suffered the torture of a criminal in his last case, coincides with the disappearance of a young woman, daughter of the prime minister of the largest island in the world. The context serves the author, who lived there for seven years, to review the ethnic and linguistic tensions that are experienced, the complicated relationship with Denmark and how politicians of both kinds use it. This is the most interesting of a novel that, in the purely criminal aspect, is more common.

Black gold, Dominique Manotti (Versatile Off, translation by Albertina Rodríguez). Théo Danquin is a brilliant and early investigator, a little Dupin, who leaves Lebanon in 1973 to become a curator in Marseille, an exciting city and a perfect criminal scene. He is also homosexual, something that has never been easy but less in those times and in the police. I have the impression that nobody will ever portray her as Jean Claude Izzo in his Fabio Montale trilogy, but Manotti knows what is done. With these keys, one of the great authors of the genre in France displays all her trade, highlights the plots behind all established power and uses the power of denunciation in the best sense. If you have not read anything about it, this is a principle as good as any other. As Commissioner Zanón says, which is a bit everywhere, in the book itself: “If you like the black novel and have not read Manotti, you are in luck: reading it you will like it much more).

The last Hammett, Juan Sasturain (Navona). I would say that this book that took Sasturain several decades of comings and goings is a love letter to the author of The Maltese Falcon, to the black genre and literature. With her he won the last Dashiell Hammett prize of the Black Week of Gijón (ex aequo with Carlos Bassas). Or, as Carlos Zanón says in the prologue of the Spanish edition of the work: “Sasturain has written a superb book with crepuscular light and luminous flashes of starlight already turned off, in that point of view of the vital and literary journey of one of the parents of what ended up being the black genre. ”

Once upon a river Y American landfill, Bonnie Jo Campbell (Dirtyworks, translation of Tomás Cobos). Here we include pairs, although in Spanish one is from 2018 and the other from 2019, with recent reissue, the two books translated from this radical author in her language, constructor of great characters (Margo, the young woman from Once upon a time... is an example of how to create a protagonist who is and feels free, with everything that is good and bad for her). Lover of a deep USA in which, in addition, he lives, is, without a doubt, one of the great appointments of BCNegra.

Coda Juan Madrid. The Pepe Carvalho prize is usually right in his decisions and this year he has done it again. To recognize Juan Madrid is to recognize one of the parents of the contemporary black novel in Spain, an author who plunges the roots of his work into a critical and contestative vision of a reality he does not like. Creator of Toni Romano, whose novels are reediting Alliance in his collection 20/13, authentic chronicler of the transition and disenchantment, the author of Days counted He showed that he is still fit, after serious health problems, with the publication of Dogs that sleep (Alliance).

For those who have not read it or want to reread it, Here is an analysis of the best of the author.

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