Love the Sinner. Or Maybe Just Kill Him.

Andrey Kurkov is often called Ukraine’s greatest living writer, and it is a gift for crime fiction fans that he writes in this genre. (Read “Death and the Penguin” and its sequels — they are a delight.) His newly translated book, THE SILVER BONE (HarperVia, 291 pp., $28), is the first in a fine new series set in Kyiv in 1919.

Samson Kolechko barely escapes with his life — though he does lose his right ear — when a Cossack murders his father with a saber. Orphaned, jobless and forced to relinquish his apartment to Red Army soldiers, Samson’s options seem limited. But then the local police force recruits him, and almost immediately he finds himself sucked into a murder case, parsing clues that involve a custom-tailored suit and a giant bone made of silver.

Kurkov, as filtered through the supple translation of Boris Dralyuk, infuses “The Silver Bone” with wry humor as Samson investigates his case while succumbing to the charms of a statistician named Nadezhda. A sequel is set to arrive next year.

Kristen Perrin’s debut novel, HOW TO SOLVE YOUR OWN MURDER (Dutton, 368 pp., $28), arrives with fanfare and flash, but it’s one of the odder first efforts I’ve read lately. Don’t get me wrong, I rather liked it, but when I got to the page where one of the main characters declared that “the cleverness pulsing through me is so strong that I don’t even cringe at my sudden over-the-top attempts to speak like a lawyer,” I braced myself for some contorted storytelling.

Back to top button