Juan de Recacoechea's Bolivian noir
Stavans calls American crime fiction Recacoechea's "prime stimulation," and he notes the author's references to Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Chester Himes, and movies based on their work. The novel is also akin in temperament to David Goodis' work in a way that might surprise some readers familiar only by reputation with that prototypical noir writer.
I'm less certain of Stavans' assertion that the Mexican crime novelist Paco Ignacio Taibo II is probably Recacoechea's main regional model. Yes, both authors take harsh looks at large Latin American cities (Taibo's Hector Belascoaran Shayne is a private investigator in Mexico City.) Both offer stark depictions of societies that crush their poor, their dispossessed, and even their ordinary workers. Yet, unlike Taibo, Recacoechea and his first-person protagonist, Mario Alvarez, never speechify. And that made Recacoechea a bit easier to read for this son of the bourgeoisie.
© Peter Rozovsky 2007
Juan de Recacoechea
Bolivian crime fiction