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Wednesday 31 December 2014

'Come, Sweet Death' by Wolf Haas

Translated by Annie Janusch
Published by Melville House,
10 July 2014.
ISBN 978-1-61219-339-7

This book has two hurdles to overcome.  It is humorous crime and it is translated into English.  Both hurdles are triumphantly vanquished - the humour comes out clearly and the language is rich and full of imagery.

Simon Brenner is an ex- cop now working as an ambulance driver in downtown Vienna.  The job mixes excruciating boredom when waiting for calls with frightening episodes as the EMTs try to drive illegally through as many red lights as possible!  This is in pursuit of winning bets on red light running rather than the need to reach hospital in an emergency.  The boss of the agency, known as Junior, asks Brenner, as an ex-cop, to investigate the ability of his major competitor to reach calls first.  The boss believes that the opposition is tapping into the radio communications to enable them to beat Junior's ambulances to the pickups.  As a side investigation Brenner tries to discover who murdered one of his colleagues by strangulation.

This is the third of Brenner's adventures to have been translated into English but the story certainly stands on its own feet so the reader does not need to have read the previous books.  The tale swings along quickly with funny events, language and musings from Brenner, the humour is largely black as befits the semi-medical topic.  It is a good detective story too.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Wolf Haas is an Austrian writer with 3 out if his 7 books about Brenner translated so far.

Wolf Haas was born December 14, 1960. in Maria Alm am Steinernen Meer, which is part of the Austrian province of Salzburg.  After university he worked as an advertising copywriter. Between 1996 and 2003 he wrote seven detective stories, of which six featured detective Simon Brenner. Three were made into films: Komn, suber Tod (Come Sweet Death), Silentium! and Der Knochenmann (The Boneman). He has won several prizes for his works.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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