cover image How's the Pain?

How's the Pain?

Pascal Garnier, trans. from the French by Emily Boyce.. Gallic (, $12.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-908313-03-4

First published in France in 2006, this low-key thriller from Garnier (1949%E2%80%932010) captures in gem-like detail the final assignment of an aging hit man, Simon Marechall. Simon engages 21-year-old Bernard Ferrand to be his driver, though he's repeatedly exasperated by the na%C3%AFve young man, wondering if Bernard is simply too dimwitted to act as a prot%C3%A9g%C3%A9. En route, the pair encounter a number of distinctive characters, including Bernard's dotty mother and a woman named Rose, who resides in a seaside bungalow in Cap d'Agde and sets her eye on Simon. Only now working their way into English translation, Garnier's crime novels add significantly to the latest renaissance for this type of dark narrative. As translator Boyce slyly notes in an afterword, "noir may just be the new black." Indeed. (May)