Here for your reading consideration are three crime fiction novels that have somewhat unusual plots and have received starred reviews:
*Starred Review* Where are we? In hell? Astonished readers share the perplexity of the Investigator, the nameless protagonist seeking to solve the mystery of 22 unexplained suicides in one bleak housing complex. But as he stumbles into a netherworld of nightmarish absurdity, readers recognize a literary reincarnation of Kafka’s K in The Trial. For, like K, the Investigator ultimately confronts not a unique challenge facing a particular man but, rather, the existential dilemma enveloping all mortals.
To render that dilemma imaginatively potent, Claudel inverts all the conventions of detective fiction and then invests the inversions with haunting implications. Utterly unlike the triumphant Sherlock Holmes, who solves the most difficult cases by teasing truth out of tiny clues, this absurdist detective staggers into ever-deeper incomprehension as he butts his head vainly against frustrating obstacles, human and inanimate. Slowly, painfully, he realizes that in this labyrinth of death, he is himself the quarry, trapped by an implacable Shadow.
Spare and taut, the tale unfolds with the inevitability of fate, drawing readers into the profoundest of human enigmas. Felicitously translated from the 2010 French original, this masterwork adds luster to the stellar reputation Claudel established with his prizewinning By a Slow River (2003) and Brodeck (2007).
The Black Stiletto (M)
The appeal in this series-opener lies in the transformation of Judy Cooper into an international icon of feminist strength and power who assumes near-mythic proportions. Prolific crime-fiction writer Benson captures the style of a young woman’s diary and moves with ease between time periods in this comic book-like novel of nonstop action. Prime escapism.” – Booklist