Come, Sweet Death!
Wolf Haas, trans. from the German by Annie Janusch. Melville International Crime (Random, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-61219-339-7
Simon Brenner lands in the midst of the literally cutthroat competition between Vienna’s two premier ambulance services in Austrian author Haas’s darkly funny mystery featuring the hapless ex-cop, the fourth to be translated into English (after Resurrection). Though reviving his investigative skills is one of the last things the rookie Vienna Rapid Response EMT wants, his boss manipulates him into agreeing to find out how rival Pro Med Vienna, aka the “Pro Meddlers,” has managed to tap VRR’s dispatch radio to steal calls. Then when gonzo ambulance jockey Manfred “Bimbo” Big—famous for betting on just how fast he can make it to pickups—turns up dead and a fellow driver falls under suspicion, Brenner can’t very well demur, even though it quickly becomes clear he’s risking limb and life. Distinctively sardonic, and told with a deceptively digressive style that mirrors Brenner’s deductive process, this wild ride careens unpredictably to a hair-raising, hilarious climax worthy of the brothers Coen. [em](July) [/em]
Reviewed on: 05/26/2014