Saturday, December 19, 2020

J. Kingston Pierce's favorite crime fiction of 2020

J. Kingston Pierce is the editor of both The Rap Sheet and Killer Covers, the senior editor of January Magazine, a contributing editor of CrimeReads, and a columnist with Down & Out: The Magazine. At The Rap Sheet he tagged his favorite crime fiction of 2020. One title on the list:
Black Sun Rising, by Matthew Carr (Pegasus Crime):

Integrating crime fiction into historical events can be a ticklish balancing act: one or the other component usually suffers. Not so with this suspenseful, impellent yarn set amid Barcelona, Spain’s notorious Tragic Week, during which socialists and Catalonian nationalists clashed with Spanish armed forces in the summer of 1909. The story introduces Irish-Chilean private investigator Harry Lawton, a Boer War vet and once-rising Scotland Yard detective, who’s hired both to confirm that a British scientist/explorer, Dr. Randolph Foulkes, was killed in a terrorist bombing on Barcelona’s scenic pedestrian way, the Ramblas, and to identify a woman Foulkes gave money to before his passing. As tensions build in the city, provoked by Spain’s colonial bellicosity in North Africa and augmented by an imminent general strike, Lawton—inhibited by his unfamiliarity with the city as well as his random epileptic fits—labors to reconstruct Foulkes’ final days, connecting that scientist with a prominent mesmerist, eugenics experiments, and a rumored blood-drinking killer, the “beast of the Ramblas.” Yet even aided by a local poet-journalist and a naïve young anarchist schoolteacher, Lawton is hard-pressed to solve his case before Barcelona erupts in violence. If we’re lucky, this won’t be Carr’s sole Harry Lawton novel.
Read about another entry on the list.

Q&A with Matthew Carr.

The Page 69 Test: Black Sun Rising.

--Marshal Zeringue