On the Radar: A whole world of badness

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Let’s take a midwinter journey to parts far and wide with this week’s book news, starting in Argentina with an award-winning novel by Nicolás Ferraro. Also in translation, an Italian crime classic from Fruttero and Lucentini, while David McCloskey’s spooks take us to Moscow and Mexico. We’ve also got a stop in The Big Easy and some dog sitting to do on a London canalboat.

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My Favorite Scar by Nicolás Ferraro

My Favorite Scar by Nicolás Ferraro front cover

My Favorite Scar won Spain’s prestigious Dashiell Hammett Prize in 2022, now Argentinian author Nicolás Ferraro’s novel has been translated into English, and it’s out on 24 January. Ambar is 15 and has been brought up by her father, Victor Mondragon. He’s a career criminal, so instead of usual teenage pursuits, Ambar is adept at patching up Victor’s latest bullet injury in a dingy motel or creating a new set of fake identities for the both of them. The older she gets, the more Ambar longs to do ordinary things but instead ends up on a road trip across Argentina with Victor and a sawn off shotgun, hunting the man who killed one of his friends.
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The Lover of No Fixed Abode by Carlo Fruttero & Franco Lucentini

The Lover of No Fixed Abode by Carlo Fruttero and Franco Lucentini front cover

Here’s another interesting release, coming to English from Italian and translated by Gregory Dowling. Originally published in 1986, The Lover of No Fixed Abode is set in Venice and its world of art and antiquities. It’s one of six crime novels by Fruttero and Lucentini and involves an affair over three days between a beautiful Italian signora scouting art pieces for one of England’s prestigious auction houses and the mysterious Mr Silvera, who claims to know every language and is certainly privy to many secrets. But that romance fizzles out when they uncover a band of unscrupulous art dealers, passing off worthless paintings as part of a famous collection. The Lover of No Fixed Abode is published on 25 January.
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Moscow X by David McCloskey

Moscow X by David McCloskey front cover

The second novel by former CIA officer David McCloskey arrives on 25 January in the UK and Moscow X will appeal to lovers of the tense spy thriller. CIA operatives Sia and Max pose as a couple and arrive in Russia on a mission to recruit Vladimir Putin’s private banker, Vadim. Sia works for a London firm that conceals the wealth of the super-rich, while Max’s family business in Mexico – a CIA front since the 1960s – is a farm that breeds top-quality racehorses. As they try to get closer to Vadim they hit an obstacle – in the shape of his wife Anna, who is both a banker and an intelligence officer herself. Things are about to get complicated…
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The Pike Boys by Danny Cherry Jr

The Pike Boys by Danny Cherry Jr front cover

Jesse Pike is gradually making a name for himself in 1920s New Orleans. He’s the owner of the most popular brothel in the city, and is friends with businessmen, corrupt politicians and stage stars alike. He’s also the leader of a violent street gang that pulls off the biggest liquor heist since the beginning of Prohibition. It’s when he comes to start selling that booze that Jesse’s problems begin, starting with the release from jail of his oldest brother, Clyde. How will it all pan out? That question is answered when The Pike Boys by Danny Cherry Jr is published on 22 January.
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The Dog Sitter Detective Takes the Lead by Antony Johnston

The Dog Sitter Detective Takes the Lead by Antony Johnston front cover

It’s a win-win for cosy crime fans who love pets when The Dog Sitter Detective Takes the Lead by Antony Johnston arrives on 25 January. As the book opens Gwinny Tuffel is excitedly preparing for her first acting role in a decade in the West End, but money is tight and she is dog-sitting on the side to keep make ends meet. Her latest client is ageing rock star Crash Double, who needs help with his Border Collie. Looking after the cute and cuddly Ace on Crash’s London houseboat shouldn’t be too difficult a task but when the singer’s dead body surfaces during the annual Canal Carnival festivities it’s time for Gwinny to employ her detection skills and ensure the killer faces the music.
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Click here to read about last week’s new releases.

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