Holy City, by Guillermo Orsi (MacLehose Press/Quercus UK):
Argentine journalist-author Orsi won Spain’s Dashiell Hammett Prize in 2010 for this thriller set amid the Buenos Aires underworld. Now translated into English by Nick Caistor (who performed the same duty on Orsi’s previous novel, No-one Loves a Policeman), Holy City begins with the grounding of a cruise ship on the banks of the Río de la Plata. Passengers seeking refuge in Buenos Aires are targeted by that capital’s most unholy and opportunistic criminals. A Colombian drug kingpin and his girlfriend, along with a trio of foreign businessmen, are soon kidnapped. Summoned to straighten out all the confusion is weary Deputy Inspector Walter Carroza of the federal police, who finds himself occupied as well with a beauty queen whose suitors are turning up dead--and headless. The investigation that Carroza and his confidante, crusading attorney Verónica Berutti, embark on will propel them deep into Buenos Aires’ layers of corruption and toward a dangerous rendezvous at a theme park based on ancient Palestine.
* * *Another promising novel due out this week is Children of Wrath (St. Martin’s Press), by Paul Grossman, a prequel to his much-applauded 2010 historical mystery, The Sleepwalkers. Like the previous work, Children of Wrath stars Berlin police detective Willi Kraus, a World War I hero who’s since come under suspicion because of his Jewish heritage. On the day in 1929 that New York’s stock market collapses, a burlap sack is pulled from Berlin’s sewer system, filled with the gnawed-on bones of young boys. Although his superiors deny Kraus supervision of this case, instead assigning him to get to the bottom of a tainted-meat scare, he can’t help but become involved in efforts to bring down the killer soon dubbed Kinderfresser, or the Child-Eater--even if it means risking his own life.