cover image Detective Story

Detective Story

Imre Kertesz, , trans. from the Hungarian by Tim Wilkinson. . Knopf, $21 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-307-26644-6

At the start of this subtle look at the price of the war on terror from Hungarian author Kertész (Liquidation ), Antonio Martens, a policeman in an unnamed Latin American country, awaits trial for multiple counts of murder after the regime that employed him was toppled. Martens tells how he was transferred from the criminal investigative branch of the police to the Corps, a security unit, where, unfettered by any meaningful restraints, he pursued the case of Federigo and Enrique Salinas, a father and son who operated the country's leading department store chain and were suspected of plotting treason. Kertész, who won the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature, charts Martens's incremental descent into barbarism to chilling effect. This relevant and timely political allegory will remind many of J.M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians . (Jan.)