cover image David's Revenge

David's Revenge

Hans Werner Kettenbach, , trans. from the German by Anthea Bell. . Bitter Lemon, $14.95 (274pp) ISBN 978-1-904738-39-8

While writers as far back as Poe have crafted crime stories centered on a narrator with a guilty conscience, few have done so as subtly as Kettenbach in this novel of psychological suspense. Seven years earlier, while visiting Tbilisi, Georgia, “senior schoolteacher” Christian Kestner nearly seduced the attractive wife of publishing agent David Ninoshvili. Now Ninoshvili writes Kestner to announce his impending arrival in Germany to attempt to get his country's literature published in translation, reawakening Kestner's fears that the Georgian found out he was nearly cuckolded and is plotting revenge. Ninoshvili soon insinuates himself into the Kestner household, which includes Kestner's attorney wife, Julia, and their loutish son, Ralf, who has unsettling associations with right-wingers. Action junkies may find the pacing slow, but others will appreciate the patient, deliberate unfolding of the plot. (Oct.)