cover image My Favorite Scar

My Favorite Scar

Nicólas Ferraro, trans. from the Spanish by Mallory Craig-Kuhn. Soho Crime, $27.95 (312p) ISBN 978-1-64129-515-4

Argentinian crime novelist Ferraro follows up his debut, Cruz, with a brutal father-daughter road trip revenge saga. Fifteen-year-old narrator Ambar Mondragón hops from motel to safe house to motel with her gangster father, Victor, as he commits increasingly violent crimes in the border region where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet. Aware of the toll his work is taking on Ambar, Victor attempts to settle down, but his plans are scuttled when rival gangsters kill his best friend and start gunning for him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Victor turns to a female drug kingpin, who enlists him to retrieve her stolen cocaine in return for indentifying the person behind his friend’s murder. From there, Victor embarks on an ever-bloodier journey to bring down the culprit, with Ambar in tow. Ferraro nails Ambar’s voice, especially in her detached, matter-of-fact descriptions of the spiraling violence (“Tank doubles up, shoving his face closer to me. That’s where the second kick lands. I stop counting them. There are a lot”). While the journey can be bleak, Ferraro ends on a satisfying note. For readers with strong stomachs, this offers high-octane suspense. (Jan.)