INTERNATIONAL BEST SELLER • WINNER OF SPAIN’S BIGGEST LITERARY PRIZE • Barcelona detective Melchor Marín is sent to the countryside to investigate a horrific double murder. Before long, it becomes clear that nothing about the case is quite as it seems in this “sweeping romantic novel in the form of a police procedural” (Wall Street Journal).
The first book in the internationally acclaimed series: Melchor, the son of a prostitute, went to prison as a teenager, convicted of working for a Colombian drug cartel. Behind bars, he read a book that changed his life: Les Misérables. Then his mother was murdered. He decided to become a cop.
This new case, in Terra Alta, a remote region of rural Catalonia—the murder of a wealthy local man and his wife—will turn Melchor’s life upside down yet again.
Even the Darkest Night is a thought-provoking, elegantly constructed thriller about justice, revenge, and, above all, the struggles of a righteous man trying to find his place in a corrupt world.
About the Author
JAVIER CERCAS was born in Spain in 1962. He is a novelist and columnist, and he has received numerous international awards. His books include Soldiers of Salamis (which has sold more than a million copies worldwide), The Anatomy of a Moment, The Tenant and The Motive, The Speed of Light, and The Impostor. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Barcelona.
Translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean
“The plot that carries Melchor from the jailhouse to his first laurels as a cop is irresistible, a wonderful commingling of scrupulous realism and scandalous invention . . . It’s hard not to want to see where life, and Terra Alta, will take him next.” —Garth Risk Hallberg, New York Times Book Review
“More valuable than your standard thriller . . . Melchor makes for a remarkably compelling protagonist . . . Cercas has created a complicated and conflicted hero to follow through multiple books. In addition, he’s written secondary characters we recognize and greet on the page as old acquaintances, whose lives we know intimately and follow as eagerly as we would family members. And that human connection, my friends, is what makes an international bestseller.” —Tara Cheesman, Los Angeles Review of Books “Javier Cercas is one of the most brilliant and creative writers living today, and Even the Darkest Night is one of his best yet.” —Molly Odintz, CrimeReads “Even the Darkest Night explores timeless issues of vengeance and mercy, good and evil, love and hate. It’s a sweeping romantic novel in the form of a police procedural. Readers in tune with its approach and concerns will be richly rewarded.” —Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
“An exceptional novel which should appeal to a wide audience of readers—not just mystery readers. It certainly should be considered for a Barry Best Mystery Award. And it should appear on a lot of ‘Best of 2002’ lists as well. It will certainly be on mine . . . The narrative will stay with me for some time . . . I thought that this finely translated novel was like that of another great Spanish crime writer, Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind, in that they both combined elements of a good crime novel with elements of praiseworthy mainstream fiction—dare I say ‘great literature’? . . . I’ll be first in line to read any sequels.” —George Easter, Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine (cover feature and review)
“Asks big questions about justice, revenge and whether literature can change lives.” —Los Angeles Times “Javier Cercas has created an almost unique character in the history of contemporary western crime writing . . . One hell of a back story . . . Part-investigative procedural, part-contemporary noir, Even the Darkest Night is at heart a revenge tragedy, a story of multiple betrayals and loyalties with a Cercas-trademark meditation on redemption.” —CrimeReads
“Cercas delivers masterful storytelling here, weaving a compelling drama . . . Moving . . . A winning choice for both literary—and crime-fiction book groups.” —Booklist (starred)
“Engrossing . . . Suspenseful . . . Fans of literary detective novels ought to take a look.” —Publishers Weekly
U.K. “Even the Darkest Night is the first in what promises to be an excellent series . . . History casts a long shadow over this tale of political and personal loyalties.” —Guardian
“It stays in the memory . . . Cercas perfectly captures the fearful mood of a town in rural Catalonia after the crime.” —The Sunday Times
“Striking.” —Financial Times
“A wonderful novel. I look forward to many more Melchor stories.” —The Tablet
Spain “Cercas has spun an agile story whose mystery plot grips the reader right from the start and keeps the tension high until the end-game.” —El Cultural
“Impeccable . . . Cercas is unafraid to explore his characters’ emotions, which, instead of toning down the narrative, deepens its impact.” —El Periódico
“From beginning to end, this is a tense whodunit.” —La Vanguardia
France “Could it be that this series is as wide-ranging and addictive as Les Misérables?” —Le Monde
“A novel that impresses with its power.” —Le Figaro
“Leaves you breathless until the last page.” —Télérama
“A resounding success . . . Cercas once again proves himself a remarkable storyteller.” —Les Echos
“Cercas weaves a formidable story, admirably served by his unparalleled ability to embrace the world through the most intimate details . . . He wonderfully explores and dissects the psychology of each of his characters, from the purest feelings to the deepest darkness.” —Page des Libraires
“A fabulous novel . . . Such powerful and luminous writing.” —Le Point
“Exquisite, perfectly successful.” —Sudouest
Ireland “Beautifully written, this is an immersive examination of the moral and emotional strains brought about by a heinous crime.” —Irish Independent
Italy “Once again, a masterful lesson on what the novel is and what the novel could be in the course of this troubled century.” —TTL, La Stampa