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CulturMag Highlights 2017, Part 9 (Nette - Oßwald)

Andrew Nice
Viet Thanh Nguyen

Regina Noessler
Ulrich Noller
Frank Nowatzki
Andrea O’Brien
Roland Oßwald

As is the case every year my top ten books for 2017 are a mixture of old and new fiction, as well as non-fiction. In no particular order they are as follows:

The Love of a Bad Man, Laura Elizabeth Woollett (Scribe)This is a collection of short stories told from the point of view of real women, all of whom were the lovers and wives of various bad men of history, including Charles Manson, Jim Jones, and the notorious Los Angeles 'Hillside Strangler', Kenneth Bianchi. Each story is beautifully crafted and very chilling.

 The Dead Circus, John Kaye (Grove Press)I’d never heard of Kaye before this book was recommended to me and I read it in a couple of sittings. Interlinking narratives tell the story of record collecting ex-cop private eye obsessed with the death of rockabilly star, Bobby Fuller, a female survivor of the Manson Family, and events in post-Summer of Love Los Angeles. Stunningly written and acutely observed.

Three hours past midnight, Tony Knighton (Crime Wave Press)A knife sharp piece of Philadelphian noir from the city’s only real life fire fighter come crime writer. A professional criminal is caught in the aftermath of a heist gone wrong of a safe, the contents of which is far more valuable than first appears. Lots of double crosses and some terrific local color Recommended for all fans of fast paced, hard-hitting crime fiction.

 The Student, Iain Ryan (Echo)Set on a rural university campus in the early 1990s, drug dealer Nate’s life rapidly starts to disintegrate when his friend and supplier, Jessie, disappears, leaving him in debt to a local bikie gang. Nate’s search for Jessie takes him into some very nasty physical and mental territory, including the unsolved murder of a local woman.

 Getting Carter: Ted Lewis & the birth of Brit Noir, Nick Triplow (No Exit)My non-fiction read of the year. A painstaking portrait of Ted Lewis, the little known British author of the book on which the classic crime film, Get Carter, is based. A fascinating and perceptive examination of alcoholism, lowbrow culture in the post war era, the changing nature of publishing, and how all these factors intersected with the maelstrom of one talented but very flawed crime writer’s life.

 Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History of ‘70s and‘ 80s Horror Fiction, Grady Hendrix (Quirk Books)Hendrix’s history of American horror fiction in the 1970s and 1980s is a must read for all fans of horror fiction and pulp history. I devoured this book like one of the starving giant killer crabs featured in a series of late 1970s horror pulps that are featured in the book.

 The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama, Julie Szego (Wild Dingo Press)Szego untangles the complex events around one of the major miscarriages of justice in modern Australian. In the process she examines the situation of Australia’s Sudanese refugee community, complex questions around sexual consent and the pitfalls of forensic science.

 Day in, day out, Hector Aguilar Camin (Schaffner Press)I only had to read one chapter for this book to easily be in my top 10 reads for 2017. Day in, day out is a stunningly written story of a writer's relationship with two beguiling sisters and an evocative portrait of the sex, alcohol and crime drenched days of 1970s Mexico City.

 The Jones Men, Vern E Smith (Weidenfeld and Nicholson)Originally published in 1974, this book has a cult following and it is easy to see why. A hard-boiled and street wise portrayal of low life crime and drug dealing in Detroit centered around the rise and fall a young mid-level heroin dealer.

 The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Tales of Conspiracy Noir, Various (Three Rooms Press)Full disclosure: I have a story in this anthology but on the basis of the other 14 this easily romped home as my favorite anthology of 2017. The stories all take as their starting point an alleged conspiracy involving the former US president. Read it for the pulp thrills, lizard men, birther conspiracies, as much as for the very sharp social observation.

Andrew Nice joins us from Australia; he is a Melbourne-based crime writer, reviewer, movie buff and pulp scholar. His blog Pulpcurry is what it says, and is one of the best around, we are happy to have connected with him so easily. He is the author of two novels, Ghost money, a crime story set in Cambodia in the mid-nineties, and Gunshine State, a heist novel who can stand up to Richard Stark, Garry Disher and Wallace Stroby (the later two also in this Year’s End Issue). Andrew was one of the founders of Crime Factory Publications where he co-editedLEE, an anthology of fiction inspired by movie icon Lee Marvin (Alf Mayer says: a gem). In January, CrimeMag will tell you a bit about his newest deed: Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats. Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 to 1980.

The Hidden Scars All Refugees Carry
Many people have characterized my novel, The sympathizer (German The sympathizer; Blessing Verlag - d. Red.), As an immigrant story, and me as an immigrant. No. My novel is a war story and I am not an immigrant. I am a refugee who, like many others, has never ceased being a refugee in some corner of my mind.

Immigrants are more reassuring than refugees because there is an endpoint to their story; However they arrive, whether they are documented or not, their desires for a new life can be absorbed into the American dream or into the European narrative of civilization.

By contrast, refugees are the zombies of the world, the undead who rise from dying states to march or swim toward our borders in endless waves. An estimated 60 million such stateless people exist, 1 in every 122 people alive today. If they formed their own country, it would be the world's 24th largest - bigger than South Africa, Spain, Iraq or Canada.

My memories of becoming a refugee are fragments of a dream, hallucinatory and unreliable. Soldiers bouncing me on their knees, a tank rumbling through the streets, a crowded barge of desperate people fleeing Vietnam.

I have no guarantee these images are true. They date from the early 1970s, when I lived in the country synonymous with war. I wonder if the fact that I cannot stand the taste of milk today has to do with being a 4-year-old boy on that barge, sipping from milk a stranger shared with my family.

Perhaps this is how history becomes imprinted in the body, how fear becomes a reflex, how memory becomes a matter of taste and feeling.

My real memories began soon after we arrived at the refugee camp in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., In the summer of 1975. Only those refugees with sponsors could leave the camp. But no sponsor would take our family of four, so my parents went to one home, my 10-year-old brother went to another and I went to a third. My separation from my parents lasted only a few months, but it felt much longer. This forced separation, what my childhood self experienced as abandonment, remains an invisible brand stamped between my shoulder blades.

A few years later we moved across the country. My parents, merchants in their homeland, had no desire to do the menial work expected of them in Harrisburg, Pa., Where we had settled.

Instead, they opened a grocery store in a depressed area of ​​downtown San Jose, working 12 to 14-hour days, seven days a week, except for Christmas Day, Easter and New Year’s Day. They became successful, at the cost of being shot in an armed robbery.

Today, when many Americans think of Vietnamese-Americans as a success story, we forget that the majority of Americans in 1975 did not want to accept Vietnamese refugees. (A sign hung in the window of a store near my parents ’grocery: "Another American forced out of business by the Vietnamese.") For a country that prides itself on the American dream, refugees are simply un-American, despite the fact that some of the original English settlers of this country, the Puritans, were religious refugees.

Today, Syrian refugees face a similar reaction. To some Europeans, these refugees seem un-European for reasons of culture, religion and language. And in Europe and the United States, the attacks in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, Calif., And Orlando, Fla., Have people fearing that Syrian refugees could be Islamic radicals, forgetting that those refugees are some of the first victims of the Islamic State.

Because those judgments have been rendered on many who have been cast out or who have fled, it is important for those of us who were refugees to remind the world of what our experiences mean.

I was - I am - the lucky kind of refugee who was carried along by his parents and who had no memory of the crossing. For people like my parents and the Syrians today, their voyages across land and sea are far more perilous than the ones undertaken by astronauts or Christopher Columbus. To those watching news reports, the refugees may be threatening or pitiful, but in reality, they are nothing less than heroic.

They will remain scarred by their history. It is understandable that some do not want to speak of their scars and might want to pretend that they are not refugees. It is more glamorous to be an exile, more comprehensible to be an immigrant, more desirable to be an expatriate. The need to belong can change refugees themselves both consciously and unconsciously, as has happened to me and others. A Vietnamese colleague of mine once jokingly referred to his journey from “refugee to bourgeoisie.” When I told him I, too, was a refugee, he stopped joking and said, "You don’t look like one."

Hey was right. We can be invisible even to one another. But it is precisely because I do not look like a refugee that I have to proclaim being one, even when those of us who were refugees would rather forget that there was a time when the world thought us to be less than human.

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel “The Sympathizer” won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. His short story collection “The Refugees” came out in February 2017. “Nothing Ever Dies” is a powerful non fiction book about the long lasting effects of war - and a history of the Vietnam War from another perspective as the usual.A version of this little essay appeared in the New York Times. His essays with CrimeMag here.

In my review of the year I limit myself to a TV series and two books.

Room 108, the German title, is a Belgian crime series in ten episodes that was shown on arte in March 2017. The announcement made me curious. Young woman is killed in a small Belgian town (in a hotel in that room 108), but from now on she is not really dead, but is looking for her murderer (whom she cannot remember). Years ago I had the idea of ​​resurrecting a dead person - like probably countless other authors too - but nothing came of this project because right at the beginning I got entangled in numerous considerations: What can the dead person do and what Not? Room 108 deals with such questions in a refreshingly uncomplicated way. The dead eats, sleeps, talks to other people, even has sex, rides a motorcycle. (In one nice scene, she gets on a friend's yellow motorcycle - but it stays in the garage while she drives away on the identical yellow motorcycle. I asked myself: Why is she still putting on a helmet?) That the dead main character everything can do is consistent and is gradually explained very logically. She cannot speak to everyone or be seen by everyone alive, but only by certain people, and that in turn is related to the solution to the murder case.

The two books are My soul so cold by Clare Mackintosh and Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan.

My soul so cold appeared in the translation in 2016, so strictly speaking, this crime thriller does not fit the year in review at all. But since I only read it in 2017, it definitely belongs to the year 2017 for me. Incidentally, a book is unfortunately already "old" after a few weeks, and many deserve to be talked about longer.

Why do I mention these two books? As is well known, it is not always easy to go back to your own text, especially if you last worked on it a while ago because of other obligations. The famous blank white sheet of paper that everyone who writes probably knows. Everyone has to develop their own strategies to fill it. Well-written books work for me. They seem to automatically start something in my head. As for "well-written", I've read both thrillers in translation.

My soul so cold is called in the original I let you go. Who actually comes up with these German titles that mean that you can't even remember for half a day whether you've already read the book or not (many book covers too, by the way)? Clare Mackintosh did something interesting here, even with experienced crime readers. We are on the completely wrong track for the entire first half of the book, at least more than 200 pages. The author is masterfully fooling us, and in fact she doesn't make a single mistake, I've read it a second time and checked it again. And she has this language (or the translator Rainer Schumacher), which unfortunately I don't come across very often. It automatically drives me to my own desk, without having to overcome myself or preferring to clean the apartment beforehand, and the blank sheet of paper fills up.

In the case of the second crime thriller, here the German-language edition really appeared in 2017, the title almost kept me from buying it at first: Perfect girl by Gilly Macmillan (translation by Maria Hochsieder).

After all, that's the original name of the book. But when did the girls actually start? Two or three years ago? Especially in train station bookstores, at the table with the crime novels, one had the impression for a while that there were only titles left Girl, Girls on trains, girls who go ... maybe I'm exaggerating too? I'm glad I bought this girl crime thriller despite my initial concerns, because I think it's great, with very accurate descriptions of people and shifts. The family from the upper middle class who is totally broken, as it soon turns out, but is sweeping this under the rug and instead attaches great importance to the fact that the Italian food is even more Italian than Italian (the preparation of the perfect bruschette, in the ultra-modern, gleaming chrome Kitchen with a “thigh-length pepper mill”, feels like it takes hours), could probably also live in Munich or in Prenzlauer Berg. Incidentally, the perfect girl is a young person, a piano prodigy with perfect hearing, who has a very dark spot in her past that must be kept quiet under all circumstances.

I am very grateful to the two authors (and the translator and translator) because I read their books at a time when I had to make progress myself and really didn't have time to cultivate the blank sheet of paper for even one day longer.

What would interest me - but that is not limited to the past year 2017 - what has actually become of the beautiful narrative tense of the past tense? Why is everyone writing in the present tense lately? I will probably still be wondering that at the end of 2018, when 2017 has long been past tense. Or past perfect.

Bad times, good books - the old commonplace seems to be imposing itself for 2017. Then at least if one understands good books as those that deal politically with current affairs in a contemporary way. Of course, it would first have to be discussed what exactly constitutes “bad” times and “good” books, and what “political” means, but well. In any case: In 2017, one can clearly see a politicization of literature in various nuances and facets, and that runs through all levels, right into the entertainment literature.

In terms of genre, category “national”, there were, for example, some very readable novels that deal with the political situation. I pondered for a long time which one I would name if it were about "the one" - and in the end I very narrowly in favor of Zoë Beck's gangster novel 4.0 The supplier against Oliver Bottini's criticism of capitalism Death in the quiet corners of life decided because with her I discover a nuance more, let's say, original genre in contemporary variation than with him. Andreas Pflüger with No way then lands just behind in third place - an excellent thriller that I especially appreciate because between all the socio-political stories that (rightly) paint the devil on the wall, it proves that you can also do it in supposedly bad times with a good story just his Being able to have fun without being escapist therefore lets you take a deep breath from time to time.

Incidentally, for the same reason, I would include Candice Fox in the “International” category for 2017 Crimson Lake (or case) onto the podium - in a genre that threatens to become obsolete and to freeze and become fat, she sets the right accents on her own, by not reinventing the wheel, but cranking it to the limit so cleverly that for a moment, despite everything, one might not be inclined to lose hope for a golden future for this genre. Or so. Anyway - 3rd place in the international.

At the top for me this year is Gary Victor Drink and atonement; The way he fictionalizes politics and contemporary history (Haiti) is always impressive - probably also because he lets his stories be sufficiently insane (irrational) with a captivating instinct, but also in a thoroughly "realistic" way, which also distinguishes him from many others, the courage to go crazy, it takes a lot more of that, clear thing. Rank 2 would be, for the sake of completeness, in my very personal selection for Jerome Leroy with the novel The block provided, in which he, incidentally, also completely “crazy”, looks into the heart of (French) right-wing populism from the basic idea.

To ask? Oh yes, these categories, "National" and "International", each with three titles, these are the specifications for the nominations at German Crime Prize. Just sent. And in doing so, many titles, including matters of the heart, have to bend. I also think it's stupid that you have to limit yourself there and, grmpf, decide, decide, decide. But that's the way it is, in good times and bad, for over 30 years, what do you want to do?

Ulrich Noller at CrimeMag. His blog reads Noller. Literature limitless at WDR .

Instead of thinking for a long time about all the good things, I prefer to list the unusual, true to the motto: what really surprised me, what stuck and immediately comes to mind ...

[Fiction / international] Completely unknown to me, but surprisingly good, was: "Where I come from, the people are friendly" by William Saroyan, dtv. Saroyan was born the son of Armenian immigrants in California, received a Pulitzer Prize, which he turned down; with his stories he became the author of the hour during the Great Depression and, with the change in the social mood, replaced none other than F. Scott Fitzgerald. Instead of partying bohemians circling and celebrating their own inner emptiness, Saroyan wrote stories for the common people who were just trying to get by. And it sounds like this: “For example, among millions of horse bettors, he alone had hopes of the ultimate success of the two-year-old mare Miss Universe. To Willie, this horse wasn't just a horse. It was something more subtle, something more mystical. With the success of Miss Universe, success would also set in for Willie himself. «What a hairdresser visit and apparently unimportant chat have to do with the Turkish genocide against his people, we learn in“ Seventy Thousand Assyrians. ”Perfectly translated by Nikolaus Stingl, they bring Stories make the world shine despite poverty and discrimination.

[Fiktion / German] I was also surprised that a similarly independent sound can also come from Germany. At least since his story tape ash Sven Heuchert from the Rhineland province is on my radar, because stories about losers, malochers and criminals do not often come so unpretentiously from a German pen. Dark law takes the reader to a deserted town near the Belgian border, where frustration, a lack of prospects and a disused mine prevail. Petrol station owner Achim no longer wants to be left behind and develops his own theory on how to get into the drug business with the help of the half-silk restaurateur and investor Falco. The fact that Achim lets his new flame live with her beautiful daughter Marie is not entirely unselfish. When the disaffected ex-legionnaire Richard Dunkel is hired as a security man for the pit and Achim's gang steps on their feet, not only does the violence explode. As it is in ash has indicated, in Heuchert this is neither striking nor spectacular, rather quiet and precise like a snakebite.

[Non-fiction book] Why our system works as flawlessly as it does in spite of its flaws and why it ultimately has to fail, Fabian Scheidler had - in view of the complex subject - well structured and easy to understand The End of the Mega Machine: History of a Failing Civilization collected. The most important book on the topic for me was hardly reviewed and only cheated its way through word of mouth from edition to edition and went through the roof. Completely surprising for me, Scheidler has now added more this year: Chaos: The New Age of Revolutions. Regarding the separation of state and big capital, it says here: “The global tribute system only works because elected governments channel our tax money into the hands of the richest 1% through innumerable open and hidden ways and in the end persuade us that the whole thing is based on market success. The first step in overcoming the system is to bring it to the public eye, to dispute its legitimacy and to make it the subject of political debate. " This book explores the dangers and opportunities and offers a compass for political engagement in times of increasing confusion. From Promedia.

[Magazine] The filmmaker M.A. I appreciate Littler for his unusual label Slowboatfilms, for unusual and courageous films like Armenia with the musician Alain Croubalian (Dead Brothers) as a homeless wanderer. I was now surprised that he and his fellow editor D. H. Ottn called a non-cultural literature and art magazine "Sargasso" launched. “Swinging between Europe and America, SARGASSO is a transatlantic reservoir for underground and outsider art. Here twisted poems & rebellious short prose meet happy funeral songs & gloomy pub prayers, rotten drawings meet broken photographs. ”As illustrious contributors, old friends like Franz Dobler, Miron Zownir, Sven Heuchert and Mario Mentrup immediately catch the eye. Two issues have appeared so far.

[Film] Completely surprised, or rather, caught off guard, caught me Bad batch (Netflix) by the Iranian-born director Ana Lily Amipour with a bizarre mix of genres in a dystopian, bizarre Mad Max desert setting: Arlen (Suki Waterhouse), is retired due to social misconduct and escorted by the police behind a border fence. The laws of the USA no longer apply across the border, everyone is on their own. Arlen looks really cool even alone in the desert and looks bored. Ok you think - looking almost exactly the same - I know this scenario from Carpenters rattlesnake. Until Arlen is suddenly overwhelmed and mutilated by cannibals in the opening sequence, and then shows in a grandiose way how much feminism one has to afford to survive in this area. There is hardly any talk, Amipour lets the pictures do the talking and leaves plenty of room for interpretation. In view of the growing stream of refugees and newly built NATO wire fences, one actually begins to wonder how realistic the whole thing might be and whether "Desert camp“Soon that "Jungle camp" as a new format. Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey in guest roles crown each other in great supporting roles.

[Music] Once again I was positively surprised The Sadies from Canada with their 10th studio album. The Sadies are touring all the time and I waited a long time for it, but suddenly it was there. For a long time they have been considered the best bands in Canada and the new album "Northern Passages" shows why. A great mix of archaic R’n’R, psychedelic folk, catchy country melodies and Americana. The esteemed Kurt Vile is up as a guest star "Easy like walking" is part of the game, but as a test tip "Another season again" simply unbeatable.

Frank Nowatzki at CrimeMag. He is represented in the CrimeMag Top Ten 2017 with two books from his publishing house. He didn't know that when he wrote this text - and neither did the editors.

Women who stare at lips - Tatort Couch: From the life of a serial junkie

The first episode of the latest ZDF thriller series was lost for ten minutes Spring tide over my screen until I gave her the fatal blow - and not because I have an allergy to leading actresses with pushed lips, but because nothing about this piece of work convinced me at all. However, I have found that manipulated mouths in leading actresses astonishingly often indicate - how should I put it - certain weaknesses in the series conception, see also: Marcella (BBC, Netflix). But only by the way.

After I Spring tide So had turned off ice cold, I called to my mind as a contrast program, so to speak, all the series that sweetened my flair in 2017. And here it is, my personal favorites list. Not brand new anymore, but still exciting.

Sometimes I discover series that they ran on British or American television some time ago. This includes, for example Criminal Justice (BBC, 2009) with Ben Wishaw and Maxine Peak. Two seasons of five episodes, each dealing with a crime in which the perpetrator has been determined from the start. But of course not everything is what it seems. The deeper the viewer delves into the case, the more complex and exciting it becomes - and the greater the doubts about the justice of the punishment. But beware! This series can cause difficulty falling asleep.

The small but fine miniseries kept me awake in a completely different way What remains (BBC, 2013) starring David Threlfall and Denise Gough. The specialty of this series lies in the chamber play-like, sometimes oppressively dense atmosphere. The remains of a young woman are found by chance in the attic of a London apartment building. Her death was years ago, so it is no longer clear whether she was killed in an accident, suicide or murder. The police quickly shut down their investigations, but Len, a retired detective, is convinced that a crime has occurred here. The suspects: all residents of the house. And every tenant actually has a motive. Or was it just an accident?

As the third series in the British league, I was enthusiastic Shetland (BBC, based on designs by Ann Cleeves) with Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez. This fine series works mainly because of its eponymous setting, but does not completely rely on it (like the Welsh series Backlandthat looks involuntarily weird with its stiff cardboard figures). This is about an established community that copes with everyday life in front of a dramatic backdrop. This captivates the viewer mainly because the author has given her investigators a backstory and personality to touch and the producers do not implement the book template one-to-one, but respect them in their most important points. The heart and soul of the series is the main character Jimmy Perez, who is perfectly cast with Douglas Henshall. Oh, the British can just do it.

Pitch black humor and supernatural

We come to the more recent and less known series of the BBC, starting with the fast-paced series Line of duty with Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar, who take care of the operations of the fictitious anti-corruption unit AC-12 rotate. AC-12 investigates only cases of police corruption, but that only ever provides an opportunity for investigations into the course of which completely different crimes come to light. Anyone who likes unexpected twists and turns, entanglements, intrigues and a mixture of things in which everyone is suspect will be entertained by this format in a very exciting way.

Also entertained me very well River (BBC, Netflix) about the detective John River (Stellan Skarsgård) of the same name, who develops clairvoyant skills in his deep grief for his colleague (Nicola Walker) - or is he schizophrenic? Played great, touching, gripping and a bit weird.

The second season of the series with the flaky title comes supposedly light and idyllic Happy Valley (BBC, Netflix) therefore. The great Sarah Lancashire in the role of Catherine Cawood has to risk life and limb again to hopefully finally bring down her personal demon Tommy Lee Royce (brilliantly played by James Norton). The horror slumbers behind the cozy small town facade. This is tough and not for the faint of heart!

The series is not quite as hard, but no less abysmal Babylon (BBC, Netflix) with James Nesbitt (The Missing) and Brit Marling in the lead roles. Told with bitter humor Babylon of the rise and fall of the ambitious Chief Constable Richard Miller, whose turf and life is mixed up by an American PR manager during an image campaign. In the end, nothing is what it used to be. Best entertainment. The laughter got stuck in my throat from time to time.

I would like to take this opportunity to read the miniseries Apple Tree Yard (BBC) based on the hit novel of the same name by Louise Doughty. The somewhat inexperienced plot, the one in parts Fifty Shades of Gray remembers, thanks to the acting skills of Emily Watson and Ben Chaplin it turns into a drama about a woman who loses almost everything because of a hot affair.

True crime and crime fiction: stories that resonate

If someone had asked me a year ago if I liked True Crime, I would have shaken my head in annoyance. Why I use the Netflix documentary The Keepers clicked anyway? Out of sheer boredom. You know it, rainy Friday, couch, no desire to go out ... The KeeperSo: something about a dead nun and a priest. Yawn, I thought, it's clear what happened there. Not at all! At the beginning of this oppressive story it is only clear that an open-minded, committed and popular young religious and teacher was the victim of a crime that has not yet been atoned for. Because they have never forgotten "their sister Cathy", two of their former students, now retired, embark on a journey into their personal past. What they find there shook me deeply and followed me for a long time. Definitely worth seeing, but emotionally not entirely without it.

Fixed by this documentary, I pushed straight away Real detectives and Badlands afterwards, both of whom report on true criminal cases and their investigation. Very American, a little sensational and in its conventionality more like what I expected from True Crime. These two docudramas are far from being made with the same care as The Keepersbut perfectly acceptable.

Somewhat more demanding, if too lengthy, I experienced the also outdated Netflix documentary Making A Murderer. At the end of this judicial and corruption drama about the alleged murderer Steven Avery, a bitter aftertaste and deep frustration remained.

I was similarly frustrated The Confession Tapes, a documentary series that explores real-life cases of falsely convicted criminals. The frustration was not related to the series itself, but to its content, because the viewer experiences first hand how suspects were made guilty using manipulated interrogation methods and are still behind bars to this day.

            In contrast, it goes in the (fictional!) Series Mindhunter not about suspects who have been made guilty, but about a deeper insight into the psyche of convicted perpetrators. Exciting and intelligent made - thanks to David Fincher!

My conclusion for 2017: The crime genre is far from exhausted, but always comes up with new and exciting constellations.

Andrea O’Brien has the brilliant “Fiona. When I was dead ”translated by Harry Bingham (also featured in this year's review) and interviewed him. You can find your website here. Her blog “Krimiscout” on English suspense literature also contains investigator profiles. At CrimeMag she wrote about “The Bottoms” by Joe R. Lansdale and spoke to Alf Mayer about the translation work on Gerald Seymour's “Vagabond”.


With the containment of crime and the defense of society, law enforcement institutions promote their tasks and goals. In turn, they have not succeeded in either for hundreds of years. At the same time, it can be observed that as a result of its failure, the law enforcement apparatus and its legend grow, which once again, as in 2017, proves that institutions are primarily interested in their continued existence and / or their expansion. From this point of view, their work is more about crime management than the defense of the collective.To speak of progress would be utopian in this context. For avid chroniclers and the gentlemen and women of the Invisible Committee, it is now time to pull out the pen and talk about the fragmentation of society, the conceptual failure of libertarian movements (such as Nuit debout in France), the insubstantiality of Politics, but also the power of institutions to write the compulsive commodification or valorization of everyday things (Uber, Airbnb etc.) or the downside of the "Big Society". A good example of booming state institutions, whose power has steadily increased in recent years, would be the secret services. Her work and actions can be experienced in the exhibition Top Secret International, staged by Rimini Protokoll, beautifully illustrated and noticeable on one's own body. The documentary Projekt A by Marcel Seehuber and Moritz Springer looks a little more positively into today's political Europe. But even with the best of intentions, as the two documentary filmmakers show in their work, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find an area in life that does not involve violence.

Anyone who has dealt with this phenomenon in depth for many years and in several books is Denis Johnson, who died in May 2017. His book The laughing monsters is one of the best suspense novels of the year. Inspired by the monsters, I immediately went to a classic of the genre to heart, because there are still few good Africa novels in suspense literature, even if this is claimed in some places. Donald E. Westlake's Kahawa is such a case and at the same time a wonderful lesson on how to steal an entire freight train of coffee.

In 2017, two books protruded pleasantly into the strained consciousness in the domestic stimulant business of literature. On the one hand distant routes by Jürgen Ploog and on the other hand Reinhard Kleist's graphic novel about the life and work of Nick Cave.

Trans-sensory experiences are not always easy to find. My tip (also available for lukewarm) is scent and smell in the research spirit podcast series. And when you've already put on the headphones, it's also worth listening to the Durch die Umgebung channel again and again. I would recommend Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill to more hardened listeners or as a bedtime treat, if you want to listen to the everyday American madness.

Finally - it took a long time - a series has ticked through the airwaves that takes its audience - us viewers - seriously again. It's about The Deuce, and it's about the sex business on 42nd Street in New York in the 1970s. Fascinated and at the same time repulsed, we can use the fate of a good handful of protagonists to observe the American path from clandestine street sex work on a small scale to the multi-billion dollar sex industry of today. This series does an amazing job, and everyone does it. Authors, actors, camera, sound, costumes, etc. up to the great soundtrack - the title song is provided by the highly esteemed Curtis Mayfield with If There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Going to Go.

Roland Oßwald at CulturMag. His blog Die Halde.

Tags: Andrea O'Brien, Andrew Nette, Frank Nowatzki, Annual highlights, Literature highlights 2017, Regina Nössler, Roland Oßwald, Ulrich Noller, Viet Thanh Nguyen