The Sweetness of Life

by Paulus Hochgatterer

An intriguing and somewhat disturbing book. An old man is found dead and mutilated in a small Alpine village. His seven-year-old granddaughter may be a witness but she won't talk. A fast-paced psychological thriller which explores the depths of the human mind and the culture of this Austrian village – it kept me on the edge of my seat!


It is lying there like someone making an angel in the snow, its arms spread like wings. It is swallowing up the moonlight. The child steps slowly forward. Then she bends over. The black lace-up boots are like grandfather's. Looking closer she sees that the trousers are dark green. The trousers are turned up a few centimetres at the bottom. The jacket is made out of that coarse light-brown material which never wears out. Almost everything is the same. No gloves. Almost everything. The arms, the shoulders, the collar. But there is no head where it should be. Even a pawn has a head there. The child crouches right down. The head is not missing. Where there should be a round head on the ground, there is something flat instead. The flat thing is squashed into the snow and it is completely black ...
Translated by Jamie Bulloch


The Red Room by Nicci French
Arctic Chill by Arnaldur Indriðason

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