Fauser, a heroin addict until he kicked the habit at 30, pulls no punches in his lean, darkly comic debut crime thriller, first published in 1981 in his native Germany, where it sold more than 200,000 copies and was made into a film. German porn merchant Blum is having a tough time pushing his dated Danish skin magazines in Malta. ("Afghanis might get some satisfaction from these products, but in my view they have no artistic merit," a Pakistani porn dealer tells him.) With the Maltese police breathing down his neck, Blum seizes the chance to transport five pounds of Peruvian flake to Ostend, but he soon discovers the job is more trouble—and indeed far more dangerous—than it's worth. Part of the pleasure of following Blum's low-life adventures is the sense that they're closely based on the author's own. Bitter Lemon deserves kudos for introducing this fine German noir to an American audience. (Feb.)
FYI: Fauser produced two more crime novels before he was killed on his 43rd birthday after wandering onto a highway and being hit by a truck.