Published by Melville House,
10 July 2014.
This book has two hurdles to overcome. It is humorous crime and it is translated into English. Both hurdles are triumphantly vanquished - the humour comes out clearly and the language is rich and full of imagery.
Simon Brenner is an ex- cop now working as an ambulance driver in downtown Vienna. The job mixes excruciating boredom when waiting for calls with frightening episodes as the EMTs try to drive illegally through as many red lights as possible! This is in pursuit of winning bets on red light running rather than the need to reach hospital in an emergency. The boss of the agency, known as Junior, asks Brenner, as an ex-cop, to investigate the ability of his major competitor to reach calls first. The boss believes that the opposition is tapping into the radio communications to enable them to beat Junior's ambulances to the pickups. As a side investigation Brenner tries to discover who murdered one of his colleagues by strangulation.
This is the third of Brenner's adventures to have been translated into English but the story certainly stands on its own feet so the reader does not need to have read the previous books. The tale swings along quickly with funny events, language and musings from Brenner, the humour is largely black as befits the semi-medical topic. It is a good detective story too.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Wolf Haas is an Austrian writer with 3 out if his 7 books about Brenner translated so far.