As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Maclehose Press, 6 August 2015. ISBN:
Alberto Barrera Tyszka tells stories about crimes, some of which are very
violent, and looks at their effects on people's minds as they suffer pangs of
These stories are full of violence both overt and
hidden within people's minds. Violence could be said to be more present
in Latin America than elsewhere and Alberto is illustrating the obvious and
insidious effects. The visceral references which surface at intervals
shock but so do the frightening areas within the consciences of the
protagonists and the ultimate banality of these individuals. The ten
stories vary tremendously but all feature a person, male or female, who finds
him or herself worrying about a situation that may involve a crime but always
involves feelings of guilt. Some tales are surreal, for example the man
who is developing a compulsion to bite dogs or the man who finds a severed hand
and tries to inform the authorities but is told "no hand was reported
missing last night. Sorry.". Others start from the obvious -
Aranguren volunteers in a prison teaching a creative writing class and
experiences the smell of criminality in the air. In Alberto's stories
lives are changed forever by violence but it is the indirect effects that
linger in the mind rather than the direct ones; a family see a relative
apparently shot during a demonstration and cannot find him afterwards, they are
then caught up in the political and media ramifications that follow.
The stories are often quite short and expressed in
clear, simple prose, however, certain memorable uses of language stay in your
mind. A bullet is referred to as"capricious" as it disappears
into a body deciding to inhabit it; two boys are disappointed when the
guerrilla father of one of them returns and proves to be bald, small and
unathletic, they look at each other and see that "his father, all
too soon, had ceased to be a myth." This is writing of a high
standard and, presumably, translating of an equally high level.
The stories certainly held my interest!
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Alberto José Barrera Tyszka,was born 18 February 1960 in Caracas Venezuela
where he grew up. He graduated
from the Central University of Venezuela, where he is now a professor in the
Department of Literature. He is a
regular columnist (since 1996) for the daily newspaper El Nacional, and a
regular contributor to the magazine Letras Libres.
In 2006, he received the Herralde Prize for his novel La enfermedad. He has published four novels, a poetry collection, and three books of
history.Barrera's works have been translated into Mandarin, French, English,
Jennifer PalmerThroughout 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 &
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.