cover image The Last Good Man

The Last Good Man

A.J. Kazinski, trans. from the Danish by Tiina Nunnally. Scribner, $26 (480p) ISBN 978-1-4516-4075-5

The Jewish legend that the world is kept from destruction by 36 just people, who are unaware of their status, underpins this intriguing first novel from Kazinski, the pseudonym of filmmaker Anders Rønnow Klarlund and Jacob Weinreich. When Italian police officer Tommaso di Barbara becomes aware that good people have been dying all over the world, he concludes that the victims are 34 of the 36, and contacts a Danish colleague, hostage negotiator Niels Bentzon, to assist him in saving the last two members of the group. Bentzon, in turn, finds unexpected help in the form of scientist Hannah Lund, who uses the inquiry to re-engage with the world after her son’s suicide. The story, laden with murky metaphysics, loses its way as Bentzon, Lund, and di Barbara race to identify the last of the righteous. This is the rare thriller that’s stronger on characters, especially the protagonists, than plot. Agent: Lars Ringhof, Lars Ringhof Agency. (Mar.)