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Brenner and God

Translated by Annie Janusch

Part of Melville International Crime

Simon Brenner is an ex-detective who’s now turned to a quieter career as the personal chauffeur for two-year-old Helena, the daughter of a Munich construction giant and a Viennese abortion doctor. One day at the gas station, while Brenner’s attention is turned to picking out a chocolate bar for Helena, the little girl gets snatched from the car. Now out of a job, Brenner decides investigate her disappearance on his own. With both parents in the public eye, there’s no scarcity of leads—the father’s latest development project has spurred public protest, and the mother’s clinic has been targeted by the zealous leader of an anti-abortion group.

Set in Vienna’s gas stations, betting parlors, and “Yugoslav” discos, Brenner and God features a dubious cast of powerful characters: there are Viennese politicians, bankers, and real estate magnates, all implicated in the kidnapping.

Told in a playful style that has won the admiration of readers around the world, Haas writes with a dark humor that leaves no character, including Brenner, unscathed.

WOLF HAAS was born in 1960 in the Austrian province of Salzburg. He is the author of seven books in the bestselling Detective Brenner mystery series, three volumes of which have been made into popular German-language films. Among other prizes, the Brenner books have been awarded the German thriller prize and the 2004 Literature Prize from the City of Vienna.

“The story moves quickly, the voice is charming, Haas has a good sense of humor, and noir fans will appreciate his playful manipulations of the genre.” —Iowa City Press-Citizen

“Simon Brenner, the hero of Wolf Haas’ marvelous series of crime thrillers, is a wildly likable and original character—a delightful and unexpected hero to show up in this noble and enduring genre. That Brenner struggles his way—always humanistically, often humorously—through Haas’ acutely suspenseful narratives without the aid of a firearm, armed only with his smarts and sometimes fallible intuition, is a monumental plus.” —Jonathan Demme, Oscar-winning director of The Silence of the Lambs

“A must for crime fiction lovers with a sense of humor: In Simon Brenner, Wolf Haas has created a protagonist so real and believable that I sometimes wanted to tap him on the shoulder and point him in the right direction!”—Andrey Kurkov, author of Death and the Penguin

“Drolly told by an unidentified yet surprisingly reliable narrator, Brenner and God is very funny, leavened throughout with a finely honed sense of the absurd.”—Lisa Brackmann, author of Rock Paper Tiger and Getaway

“American readers can add a new figure to the list in the person of Simon Brenner — the dogged ex-cop of Austrian writer Wolf Haas’s novels, who ’looks like the tough guy he never really was.’”—Barnes and Noble Review

“A gleaming gem of a novel.” —Crimespree Magazine

“Wolf Haas presents us with one of the most thoroughly likable characters I’ve come across in a very long while … the book is a meticulously plotted, dark, and often very funny ride.” —The Millions

“[A] superb translation of one of Austria’s finest crime novels. This is the first of the Brenner novels in English. We can only hope for more, soon.” —Globe and Mail

“Brenner and God is a humdinger … a sockdollager of an action yarn, revealed via the smart-ass, self-effacing narrative voice that’s a sort of trademark of author Wolf Haas.” The Austin Chronicle

“Haas brings a wry sense of humor to this familiar story line with his detached, conversational style. American readers will look forward to seeing more of Simon Brenner.” —Publishers Weekly

“[Brenner] has been brilliantly brought to life by Mister Hass’ subtle yet masterful prose, with just the right balance of dark humor. Publisher Melville House is to be commended for translating the Brenner series into English, and bringing it to a wider audience. Mister Hass may not yet be a household name, this side of the Atlantic, but all that is about to change, thanks to Simon Brenner.” —New York Journal of Books

“He is highly entertaining… It’s as if he sits on Mount Everest looking down at other thriller writers” Frankfurter Rundschau

“Thanks to Simon Brenner, the Austrian Wolf Haas is one of the German-speaking world’s premier crime writers, beloved by critics and readers alike.”  —Der Spiegel

“This is great art, great fun.” —Germany Radio

“Wolf Haas writes the funniest and cleverest mysteries.” Die Welt

“The reader gets a double benefit: a story that is engaging and has a rapid momentum and a narrative voice that is darkly comic.” International Noir Fiction

“BRENNER AND GOD is a pacey and gripping read with a complicated plot and yet is only a shade over 200 pages … I recommend this quirky tale and look forward to the next one …” Eurocrime

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