One Man, One Murder by Jakob Arjouni

In a nutshell… A private investigator on the hunt for a missing woman runs into all sorts of issues.

Strengths: Great voice (sounds just like a private investigator is speaking)

Weaknesses: Not the best ebook galley (probably fixed in the final), lost track of some of the names.

Why I read it: Asked to review by the publisher.

Pages: 192

Published: 2011

Publisher: Melville House Publishing

Setting: Frankfurt, Germany

Rating: 7 out of 10

If you liked this, try: Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

One Man, One Murder was another ebook I was asked to review by the kind folks at Melville House Publishing (the same publishing house that published the excellent Death and the Penguin). This book is translated from the German and is the third in a series starring Kemal Kayankaya. (It works perfectly as a standalone book though.) Kemal is a private investigator in Frankfurt, Germany and his latest case is to find out who kidnapped Sri Dao, a Thai girl whose visa has run out.

Kemal, who is of Turkish origin, runs into all sorts of trouble when he investigates this case. Racism from immigration officials, his own friends being involved and the twists and turns of the case exposes an even bigger problem than he first thought.

The author (and the translator) have done an excellent job in getting the voice of Kemal just right. The story is told in the first person and Kemal sounds just like what you’d expect a private investigator to sound like – hard bitten, world weary and cynical. He has a dry sense of humour and a knack for working out the idiosyncrasies at each step of the case. His office even sounds like a private investigator’s – one room, dreary and with ‘the scent of spilled Scotch’.

The only problem I had with this book was being able to keep up with the German names to work out who was who. Perhaps this was because I’ve never studied German or visited Germany; I couldn’t make them stick in my head. I eventually wrote myself a little note as a reminder, which worked very well. I also had some trouble with the format of this galley on my Sony Reader – as it’s a PDF, the size of the font I could see and the size of the PDF page didn’t match well. This meant that each page was actually a page and a bit, which meant I had to flick pages some more. I’m sure this is fixed with the final ebook though.

In summary, this is a tight thriller/detective story that’s gritty and exciting. Another great crime translation.

3 thoughts on “One Man, One Murder by Jakob Arjouni

Add yours

  1. I have a friend who loves Henning Menkell and is always looking for new writers to discover in that tradition. I must recommend this one to him — thanks!

    Your trick with the list of characters is one I often resort to when overwhelmed by either the sheer number or compexity of character names.

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