Silvia Moreno-Garcia | Spring 2015: Hard-Boiled Spanish and Latin American Fiction Challenge
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Spring 2015: Hard-Boiled Spanish and Latin American Fiction Challenge

La novela negra, or hard-boiled fiction, is one of the few “commercial” genres of fiction which has flourished in Spain and Latin America. Growing up in Mexico you wouldn’t find very much in terms of local science fiction, horror or even romance at the bookstore, but there was hard-boiled and crime fiction. Nowadays there is a Dashiell Hammett award for the best novel of this type written in Spanish.

This spring look for hard-boiled and crime fiction from Spanish and Latin American writers. Here’s a list:

Tequila Blue, Rolo Diez

Not my favorite Rolo Diez book, but one that is easily available in translation. And it works fine. Tagline: It’s not easy being a Mexican cop. Indeed!

No Happy Ending, Paco Ignaico Taibo II

Taibo is one of the fathers of the novela negra and therefore has a wide corpus available for purchase. No Happy Ending is the third of his Héctor Belascoarán Shayne books. Set in Mexico City, opens with a “Roman” soldier dead in bathtub.

Dancing to Almendra, Mayra Montero

Set in Cuba during the 1950s.The same day a Mafia capo is assassinated in New York, a hippopotamus escapes from the Havana zoo and is shot and killed by its pursuers. What’s the connection?

Thursday Night Widows, Claudia Piñeiro

Three men are murdered in a gated community in Buenos Aires. Virginia Guevara, a real estate agent who lives in the compound, is our guide through this world of the newly rich.

Southern Seas, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán

A Barcelona businessman disappears not long after announcing plans to travel to the South Pacific. Fourth in a series. Would appeal to gourmets (foood).

Who Killed Palomino Molero?: A Novel, Mario Vargas Llosa

A young man is killed in an Air Force base in the northern desert of Peru.  Two officers are sent to investigate. Llosa dabbled in the crime genre though he is best known for other works.