Shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger 2011.
Superintendent Lascano is a detective working under the shadow of military rule in Buenos Aires in the late 1970s. He is sent to investigate the discovery of two bodies but when he arrives at the roadside crime scene he finds three.
CWA Judges’ comments: ‘Classic Noir set in Argentina during the brutal reign of the junta. In a familiar sub-genre, this well written book offers an unfamiliar exercise in the maverick cop’s passionate and obsessive refusal to give up the chase, even at the risk of his own life.’
Superintendent Lascano is a detective working under the shadow of military rule in Buenos Aires in the late 1970s. He is sent to investigate the discovery of two bodies but when he arrives at the roadside crime scene he finds three. Two are clearly the work of the junta's death squads, and so should not be investigated by the police, but the other one seems different. Lascano follows the trail, leading the reader on a tour of a Buenos Aires poisoned to the core by the military regime. Lascano must navigate gingerly among characters symbolic of an Argentina that has lost its way: Amancio, whose privileged upbringing makes him unable to deal with the collapse of his fortunes; Biterman, the miser, embittered beyond hope by his experiences in Nazi Germany; Eva the young radical, condemned to a life on the run, death or exile, but forced to take refuge with a cop; Giribaldi, the army major, quick to help old friends, but cruel and contemptuous of everyday civilians. Buenos Aires, corrupted by the military regime, is as important a character as any other. Lascano must uphold the law among the people and turn a blind eye to the actions of the regime, trying to bring justice to an unjust society, where some crimes are for investigation, others are not. Of course, the crime he investigates in Needle in a Haystack turns out to be one of those he should not.
|Publication date:||10th June 2010|
|Publisher:||Bitter Lemon Press|
|Primary Genre||Crime and Mystery|
Closing date: 10/04/2022
'What Mallo has achieved is a flawless, relentless work, a book the reader will find suffocating and yet impossible to put down.' Diario Y Noticias
'Crime fiction continues to be an effective prism when focusing on political violence. Mallo's writing is hard and sharp. But the book is not simply a triumph of style because the story itself offers both a reflection on a time of bloodshed and a raw vision of human misery.' Guillermo Saccomanno
Born in 1948, Ernesto Mallo is a published essayist, newspaper columnist, and playwright. He is a former militant, pursued by the dictatorship as a member of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, which was later absorbed by the Montoneros guerilla movement. 'Needle in a Haystack' is his first novel and the first in a trilogy with detective Lascano. The first two are being made into films in Argentina.More About Ernesto Mallo