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by Rafael Bernal ; translated by Katherine Silver

Pub Date: Nov. 25th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8112-2066-8
Publisher: New Directions

A new translation of a 1960s Mexican noir novel.

Bernal (1915-1972) was a prolific writer of novels and plays. Silver’s translation of what is considered his literary masterpiece, El Complot Mongol (1969), allows a new generation of readers to discover his writing. The tarnished hero is Filiberto García, a Mexico City assassin whose unique skills make him an indispensable tool for the Mexican government. Yet, his propensity to shoot (or stab) first and ask questions later also makes him an uncomfortable reminder of the more tumultuous time of the revolution. The tension between Filiberto’s volatile individuality and the government’s increasing bureaucracy comes to a head when he is tasked to work alongside FBI and KGB agents to prevent an assassination of the American and Mexican presidents. While he's working with his American and Soviet counterparts in the seedy underworld of Mexico City’s Chinatown, his investigation turns up evidence that the plot may, in fact, be much closer to home. In the process, Filiberto meets a girl whose presence causes him to reassess his long-held views on manhood and compassion. Along the way, he discovers that, much to his chagrin, he carries a conscience. As in the pulp novels of yesteryear, through sparse narrative details and fast-paced dialogue, Filiberto endears himself to the reader as that street-hardened detective who can just never shake his sense of justice.  

In the tradition of the classic detective novel, a fun and action-filled read.