Russell James has been named “the Godfather of Noir” by Ian Rankin. Russell writes crime novels - about criminals and victims, not the cozy procedural or whodunnit. He is the editor of Great British Fictional Detectives.
Eva Joly & Judith Perrignon
If you wouldn’t expect much from a novel co-written by a journalist (Perrignon) and a French politician (Joly) –you’d be wrong. It helps that Joly is a high-level prosecuting judge and Perrignon the author of several other works other than journalism (and also, perhaps, that Emily Read has translated Simenon). Among Joly’s real-life cases was a corruption charge against a French government minister and the Crédit Lyonnaise. Can that have informed this book?
When a French prosecuting judge tries to take on a Russian oligarch he becomes rapidly swamped by powers far greater than he can stomach. It is left to his deputy, Felix, to continue. A Russian journalist (Kazan) attacks the oligarch from a different angle, but is cruelly struck down. The combined powers of world crime networks, major bank fraud and government corruption seem impossible to beat – until the ex-head of the Nigerian fraud squad, now on the run, joins Lira and Felix on their crusade.
The book storms along, sketching but never getting bogged down in the details of corruption, and builds to a top-level, top-notch, incendiary conclusion.
translated by Emily Read