The story is so gripping and Veronica is such a fascinating departure from crime fiction convention—she's 30, Jewish, brazen, and openly flawed—that the book becomes difficult to put down. Also a very good novel about journalism, it's the first instalment of a trilogy. An unusual, intoxicating thriller from Argentina that casts deeper and deeper shadows.
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review:
A scalding crime novel set in Buenos Aires. Olguín memorably explores the gulf between the haves and have-nots of her city. Readers will hope to see more of the complex Verónica.
The late, great foreign correspondent Nicholas Tomalin once opined that a journalist needed three qualities to succeed: “ratlike cunning, a plausible manner and a little literary ability”. Verónica Rosenthal, the protagonist of Sergio Olguín’s lively new thriller The Fragility of Bodies, has these in spades. Olguín is a fine writer with an easy style, aided by a very readable translation by Miranda France. This is the first of a trilogy featuring Rosenthal. The series has already been turned into a television series and I’m looking forward to the next volume.
This is an excellent story, well told and translated, which sustains a high level of tension throughout. The reader is well aware of the risks to Veronica and those she co-opts in her research, and these culminate in violent and gripping action. In the background, we have Buenos Aires, with great disparities of wealth and prevalent corruption, but a strong sense of life being lived to the full.
The Fragility of Bodies is a powerful tale of murder and corruption set in Buenos Aires; it feels troublingly plausible. It will thrill readers with a taste for dark, gritty, real-world crime fiction. This novel is distilled single malt noir, a gripping reflection on the woes and angst of Argentinian society.
This is how I like my noir fiction: no cops with unlikely hang-ups, no copycat serial killers, no ‘here-we-go-again’ plots. Olguín concentrates instead on villains and victims and several dollops of savage sex.
When she hears about the suicide of a Buenos Aires train driver who has left a note confessing to four mortal ‘accidents’ on the train tracks, journalist Veronica Rosenthal decides to investigate. For the police the case is closed (suicide is suicide), for Veronica it is the beginning of a journey that takes her into an unfamiliar world of grinding poverty, crime-infested neighborhoods, and train drivers on commuter lines haunted by the memory of bodies hit at speed by their locomotives in the middle of the night. Aided by a train driver with whom she has a tumultuous and reckless affair, a junkie in rehab and two street kids willing to risk everything for a can of Coke, she uncovers a group of men involved in betting on working-class youngsters convinced to play Russian roulette by standing in front of fast-coming trains to see who endures the longest.