cover image Kill the Next One

Kill the Next One

Federico Axat, trans. from the Spanish by David Frye. Mulholland, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-0-316-35421-9

Argentinian-born author Axat fuses weird fiction with psychological suspense in his stunning U.S. debut, set in the Boston area. Terminally ill businessman Ted McKay is about to shoot himself when a stranger named Justin Lynch shows up at his house with a proposal: kill a criminal who escaped justice and an innocent man who wants to die, and in return, someone will kill him, sparing his family the shame of his suicide. Ted carries out his end of the deal, only to learn that Lynch lied about the circumstances surrounding both victims. As Ted searches for the truth, strange dreams and inexplicable events cause him to question his sanity, leaving Ted and the reader uncertain as to what is real and whom to trust. Nightmare imagery, mind-bending plot twists, and a kaleidoscopic storytelling style lend Axat’s tale a vertiginous air, but at the core of this literary fever dream lies an elegantly crafted and emotionally resonant mystery that astonishes, devastates, and satisfies in equal measure. (Dec.)