“Kemal Kayankaya is the ultimate outsider among hard-boiled private eyes.”
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
OVER 1 MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE
When a Turkish laborer is stabbed to death in Frankfurt's red light district, the local polcie see no need to work overtime. But when the laborer's wife comes to him for help, wise-cracking detective Kemal Kayankaya, a Turkish immigrant himself, smells a rat. The dead man wasn't the kind of guy who spent time with prostitutes. What gives? The deeper he digs, the more Kayankaya finds that the vitim was a good guy, a poor immigrant just trying to look out for his family. So who wanted him dead, and why? On the way to find out, Kayankaya has run-ins with prostitutes and drug addicts, gets beaten up by anonymous thugs, survives a gas attack, and suffers several close encounters with a Fiat.
And then there's the police cover-up he stumbles upon ...
About the Author
JAKOB ARJOUNI was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1964, the son of acclaimed German playwright Hans Gunter Michelson. He wrote numerous books, including the novels Chez Max and Magic Hoffmann, which was shortlisted for the IMPAC Award. But it is for his series of five mysteries featuring the Turkish immigrant detective Kemal Kayankaya for which he became best known. Bestsellers throughout Europe and the winner of the German Thriller Prize, they have also been turend into wildly popular movies in his home country. Arjouni died from pancreatic cancer at age forty-eight in January 2013.
ANSELM HOLLO is the author of more than thirty books, most recently the essay collection Caws & Causeries and Notes on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence: New and Selected Poems 1965-2000, which received the San Francisco Poetry Center's Book Award for 2001. His translation of Pentii Saarikoski's Trilogy received the 2004 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets.
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The detective is always an outsider, negotiating between two worlds, whether he is the classic, Sherlock Holmes type or he, sometimes, she, is the hard-boiled detective, the loner fiercely guarding her independence. The detective¿s alienation is worse when his race differs from all those around him, and that is the case in the books written by the German-born Turk Jakob Arjouni.Arjouni¿s Frankfurt detective is Kemal Kayankaya, a Turkish-born German who experiences daily prejudice and seems to make a specialty of it in his cases. When Arjouni describes Frankfurt from the point of view of his detective, racial friction comes through even the most casual and mundane encounters. Arjouni is not well-known in America, but he has a huge following in Germany; where his books are now routinely filmed and he is considered one of the best crime novelists in the world.Arjouni was only twenty-one when he published his first detective novel in 1985. Titled Happy, Birthday, Turk, it introduces Kayankaya, whose name and birthplace are Turkish, but who doesn¿t speak the language, having been raised by German foster-parents. His appearance is non-Aryan enough to arouse vicious prejudice in the seedy Frankfurt underworld where he spends most of his time. . ''They are 'international' down to their Parisian underwear ¿ Kayankaya says of his fellow Germans, ¿but they're not able to recognize a Turk unless he's carrying a garbage can.'' On his twenty-sixth birthday, Kayankaya is hired by the widow of a Turkish immigrant who has been stabbed to death in Frankfurt¿s red-light district. The investigation dumps Kayankaya deep into places where German intolerance for the Turks is not even thinly disguised. In a complicated plot he uncovers police corruption and encounters as much violence as any American hard-boiled detective.What is interesting to me about Arjouni is the combination of his subject matter, his method, and his reception by the Germans. His subject matter in the Kayankaya novels, of which there are now four, is always the tension and resulting violence between cultures. Throughout these books, as Kayankaya uncovers nationalism and racism or feels it in his own person, there is anger but no preaching. For Kayankaya, prejudice is just one part of the whole resistant milieu in which he works, and preaching about it would be, in a sense, as silly as Dashiell Hammett¿s Sam Spade preaching against violence. The effect of these books is a stark picture of German xenophobia and the many problems of that country, where reunification, the European union, and borders newly opened to former Soviet-bloc nations all happened with a speed no one could have predicted. But German readers and moviegoers, far from being resentful at the mirror Arjouni holds up to them, have made him a phenomenon: Germany¿s most popular mystery writer.
I enjoyed this book. But liked Kismet(his second book) better. This was a little to hard boiled for me.
This would be the hard-boiled-detective novel. It doesn't appeal to me, apart from some humor and some matter-of-fact ethnic commentary. It might work for readers who are male and Republican (in the American sense) but not racist.