Carmelo Anaya has become one of the main exponents of the black novel and thriller in Spain. With almost a dozen works on his back, it is said quickly, his tremendous ability to create atmospheres and keep the reader on the page after page is indisputable. This time features The Ripper, a brutal and intriguing well-matured police story.
As I did in three of his previous books – The Yellow Land, Baria City Blues and The Guardian of My Brother – the author gives the lead role to Commissioner Carrillo, whose skills will be put to the test once again with a new and difficult case Of homicide. On this occasion, his antagonist is a serial killer who is dedicated to gutting prostitutes. The dates in which the crimes happen and the modus operandi awaken the alarms and the terror in the commissary. Could it be an imitator of Jack the Ripper? Carrillo begins his own descent into the averno, to that crazy place where the society exposes without modesty its rot and all those involved seem to have something to hide.
The Ripper is based on traditional elements of the genre and takes them further to exploit all its possibilities in favor of the surprise factor. Although the narration is united to the protagonist, also retinas of the killer are received as in the works of John Verdon, where the insanity and malice of the antagonist can be seen. These parts make reading more interesting and entertaining thanks to its psychological content and to which they take the pieces and try to fit them into the rest of the story. They are revealing thoughts that provide insight into why the killer acts and kills in some way. The enigma of the book becomes the enigma of the public as well.
It is true that what is fundamental in a thriller is suspense, but we must demand much more: an atmosphere, the invention of a world or the reflection of another, characters that are infused with humanity and are not mere archetypes … That is, Be literature and reach a certain degree of quality.
The information received puts the reader in a position to know more than the protagonist. He walks up to Commissioner Carrillo’s side, but one step ahead of him, resulting in a magnificent suspense situation in which the reader asks the policeman to shake hands, as if he wants to get him out of the book and teach him the clues. It’s like watching a movie and shouting at the screen: “That’s the killer, but catch him!” Agatha Christie already said: “the best recipe for the crime novel: the detective should never know more than the reader.”
And in this puzzle can not miss another key element: the location, Baria, that habitual fictitious city of southern Spain to which Carmel Anaya has given life. There live a multitude of cultures and ethnicities that provoke a permanent tension. They are yellow lands, bathed by the sun and caged in suffocating wet heat. As suffocating as the time that runs counter to save the girls, as the impotence of not reaching the real killer. Deserted and arid lands like empty and false paths of suspicion that lead nowhere; A moor that opens before the eyes of the protagonist where there are no clues, there are no traces and there is only the loneliness of oneself. Baria is the place where police and murderer complement each other. Although everyone is on the opposite side, both are solitary characters that are needed and fed back to get going.
I imagine that every writer looks for his site as he searches for his style. I felt that I needed to get to know the city to locate my stories, so that I invented a city that was malleable for me. A small town, but enough to contain the microcosm that I wanted to tell. Inventing a world of its own I think is the most exciting adventure a writer can undertake.
Likewise, the parts that speak of other serial killers are a very important element that contributes to the extraordinary construction of this story. Every conversation between the police makes the story more and more exciting, filling the audience with fascination. When someone carries a report, it seems as if it is delivered to the reader. He sees the brown folders with the reports, smells the smoke of a cigarette, turns the chair when he hears the “toc toc” of the door to be surprised by the next adventure, interrogates in the fishbowl the suspects leaving the voice of the commissary Be your own voice. Very far away is that trite vision of man in uniform to bring hypnotizing reminiscences of the novel noir of the early years.
Above all, what matters most to me is the depth with which the black novel, inheriting the social novel of the nineteenth century, penetrates deep into the convulsion of all society and human nature.
Well as a movie, as a book, as a comic book … The police genre is always fascinating. Maybe this is so true