Siren of the Waters- Michael Genelin

There is something deeply American about Eastern European and Russian crime, and I’m damned if I know exactly what it is. I think sometimes it is the crumminess that citizens of that part of the world had to carry around with them for so long. Crumminess you say? America isn’t crummy. And no, blogamerica isn’t crummy. And Obamamerica isn’t crummy. But it wasn’t all that long ago that Americans didn’t live like kings. And a crash of living standards is always possible here where we are all responsible for our fates. A crash to levels in the last days of the totalitarian states. And if you don’t believe me, take a drive through a trailer park. Or a rural village without a reason. Or Washington Park at lunchtime. Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you. Maybe it’s the way they and we have had to live under the rule of ideas rather than the rule of family. Or kitchen. I don’t know. But I do know that fictional crime east of Germany time and again beats fictional Eurocrime.

This moody rant is seeping out of the battered keyboard of the Dell Inspiron that has seen better times because I have just finished Siren of the Waters by Michael Genelin (just out) in which the heroine is Slovakian police commander Jana Matinova. Crikey, it’s great. Tough and full of an absolutely absorbing place – a tiny country up against its own historic victimhood and mistakes – without being about the actual little piece of the vanished Soviet empire since it’s supposed to be about crime. I think you will find, if you can get your hands on it, that Commander Matinova lives and breathes instantly. God I hope this guy’s got a second book in him.

-Nemo Wolfe

Published in: on July 18, 2008 at 10:06 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sounds a good book, but I have to disagree with you when you write “But I do know that fictional crime east of Germany time and again beats fictional Eurocrime”. There is much superb Nordic, French and Italian crime fiction being written at the moment and in the past 40 years, as well as Irish, Scottish, English, Spanish et al. Want a list? Camilleri, Carofiglio, Vargas, Indridason, Martin Edwards, Ann Cleeves, Rankin, McGilloway, Theorin, Tursten, Fossum, Nesbo….you get the picture!

  2. Hmmm. I keep the Brits unto themselves and will do so until they enter the Eurozone. Had I blogged long enough I hope I would have made it clear that what I was talking about was the scene of the crime rather than the writer. Dan Fesperson, for example, is not a Slav, but he does a great Slavic crime. Europeans make quite a point of their lower crime rates, hammering it in quite enough that I look on Europe as a murder deprived continent.

  3. Leaving Britain aside, there is lots of great European crime fiction – if you don’t know about it your life has been too sheltered. Have you discovered Euro Crime website?

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