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One Man, One Murder

Kayankaya Thriller #3

Translated by Anselmo Hollo

Part of Melville International Crime

Love is never easy—especially when your girlfriend is an illegal Thai prostitute who has been kidnapped (again) by a gang of sex traffickers. Fortunately for the hapless fiancé, wisecracking gumshoe Kemal Kayankaya is on the case. The son of a Turkish garbage collector, he knows a thing or two about living in the ethnic fringes of the ugliest German city of them all: Frankfurt.

Kayankaya plunges into the city’s underbelly, where the police don’t care if you live or die, and the powerful view an illegal alien as just another paycheck. One Man, One Murder populates its pages with unforgettable characters, whip-smart dialogue, and a connoisseur’s collection of grim details. But it is Arjouni’s dead-on description of contemporary Europe’s racial politics, vacuous nationalism, and social injustice that make his novels rise above the rest.

JAKOB ARJOUNI was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1964, the son of acclaimed German playwright Hans Gunter Michelson. He has written numerous books, including the novel Magic Hoffmann, which was shortlisted for the IMPAC Award. But it is his series of four mysteries featuring Turkish immigrant detective Kemal Kayankaya—all of which are being published by Melville House— for which he has become best known. Bestsellers throughout Europe and the winner of the German Thriller Prize, they have also been turned into wildly popular movies in his home country. Arjouni now divides his time between Berlin and Languedoc, France.


“This is true hardboiled detective fiction, realistic, violent and occasionally funny, with a hero who lives up to the best traditions of the genre.” —The Telegraph

“A zippy, deliciously dirty tour of legal fleshpots and low-down scams victimizing illegal aliens. . . . Plotted with verve and written with passion.”—Kirkus

“This lively, gripping book sets a high standard for the crime novel as the best of modern literature.”—The Independent


“As winning a noirish gumshoe as has swooped onto the mystery scene in some time.”—Richard Lipez, The Washington Post

“Kemal Kayankaya is the ultimate outsider among hard-boiled private eyes.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

“In the emphasis on action and quck-jab dialogue, reader will notice an echo of James M. Cain and Raymond Chandler, but Arjouni’s stories also brim with the absurd humor that made The Sopranos so entertaining.”—Vikas Turakhia, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Will whet readers’ appetite for the three earlier Kayankaya mysteries.”—Publishers Weekly

“A worthy grandson of Marlowe and Spade.”—Der Stern 

“Jakob Arjouni’s downbeat detective Kemel Kayankaya has proved as enigmatic as Columbo, as erudite as Marlowe and occasionally, as crazed as Hammett’s Continental Op … Arjouni forges both a gripping caper and a haunting indictment of the madness of nationalism, illuminated by brilliant use of language: magnificent.”—The Guardian 

“This is sharp, witty writing, packed with life and colour that bursts through in Anthea Bell’s translation…. This lively, gripping book sets a high standard for the crime novel as the best of modern literature.”—The Independent

“This is true hardboiled detective fiction, realistic, violent and occasionally funny, with a hero who lives up to the best traditions of the genre.”—The Telegraph 

“Re-imagines the dull capital of the German financial industry as an urban hell where minority groups and crime bosses prey on one another with ruthless abandon.”—The Daily Beast

“A good thriller doesn’t need a specific milieu but it can be so much more satisfying when it has one. Jakob Arjouni was born and bred in Frankfurt and does a remarkable job of turning what is often considered Germany’s most boring city, into a vivid setting for violent crime capers… This is Arjouni’s fourth Kayankaya novel and they deserve to be better known in the English-speaking world…. If you like your investigators tough and sassy, Kayankaya is your guide.”—Sunday Times of London 

“Jakob Arjouni writes the best urban thrillers since Raymond Chandler.”—Tempo

“Pitch-black noir.”—La Depeche 

“A genuine storyteller who beguiles his readers without the need of tricks.”—L’Unita 

With its snappy dialogue and rumpled heroes, Arjouni’s crime fiction owes an obvious debt to American noir but it is equally reminiscent of many Eastern European satirical novels.  The plot of Kismet may recall any number of gangster romps, but the society so caustically depicted here is as recognizable as that conjured up, for instance, by Jaroslav Hasek in The Good Soldier Schweik.Anna Mudow, The B&N Review

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