I never knew we had so many new titles by Filipino authors - much less crime fiction titles. Then I read this article by F. Sionil Jose in The Philippine Star and now I'm seriously considering his recommended titles - they sounded very interesting! I know we should never judge a book by its cover but look at it and tell me it's not very provocative
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Blue Angel, White Shadow by Charlson Ong
From Goodreads: Twenty-five year old lounge singer Laurice Saldiaga is found dead in her room at the Blue Angel Cafe and Bar in Binondo, Manila's Chinatown. Inspector Cyrus Ledesma, a Chinese mestizo cop with a dark past is assigned to investigate the matter. The bar owner, Antonio Cobianco, is a known associate of Mayor Lagdameo Go-Lopez. Ledesma walks into a cauldron of intrigues, labyrinths, crumbling edifices, dogfights and suspects that include a jaded whiskey drinking female bar manager, a psychic journalis, a dyslexic piano player, a quick trigger pit bull owner, an aging saxophone player and Cyrus' own uncle, Police Chief Ruben Jacinto.
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At War's End by Rony V. Diaz
A rich man is murdered. Why? Diaz’s novel, published by The Times book division, is the first of a trilogy that throws light on the history of post-World War II Philippines through the lives of flesh-and-blood characters and families.
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I'm into crime fiction, and I've been searching for novels like these -- you know, crime fiction books authored by Filipinos. I'm so glad I found this post. I'll definitely include these titles on my to-read list. Thanks!
Anyway, I also want to share my recent finds:
Smaller And Smaller Circles: A Novel by F.H. Batacan Date published: 2002 Number of pages: 198 pages Plot: Its main protagonists are Gus Saenz and Jerome Lucero, Jesuit priests who also perform forensic work. The mystery revolves around the murders of young boys in a poor region of Payatas, Philippines. (wikipedia)
Philippine Genre Stories: The Special Crime Issue Guest-edited by F.H. Batacan Cover art by Josel Nicolas Number of Pages: 74
Thanks for the list! I've been a crime fan since college, but I've only read foreign (mostly American?) crime novels. Recently I discovered through a friend the "first Philippine crime novel," Smaller and Smaller Circles. It's being re-released now internationally. I plan on buying it soon.
I will put the other books posted here in my to-buy list and will look out for them when I go book hunting in MIBF 2015!
I just finished "Smaller and Smaller Circles" yesterday - for such a powerful book, packing such a hefty punch, it's very readable.
I'm definitely going to check out the other books recommended here as well - I'm so pleased to see most of them are available on Kobo (does anyone else have a really hard time getting their hands on Filipino novels??)
I'd also recommend:
Manila Noir edited by Jessica Hagedorn Anvil Publishing published 2013, 2nd printing 2014
It's a collection of short stories, all with a crime theme, set in various areas and neighbourhoods of Manila. The authors include some of the big names of Filipino lit: Lysley Tenorio, Rosario Cruz-Lucero; Lourd de Veyra; Sabina Murray; Angelo R. Lacuesta; Budjette Tan & Kajo Baldisimo; F.H. Batacan; Jose Dalisay; R. Zamora Linmark; Gina Apostol; Jessica Hagedorn; Marianne Villanueva; Eric Gamalinda; Jonas Vitma.
I am not sure f any of you had seen this book at NBS, but this was good. Only a few readers had an interest in courtroom dramas. And that's why only a few writes about them too. It's about the lady lawyer handling a high-profile criminal case. It was a job for her at first, then it became a personal vendetta. I don't want to post spoilers. But hope you guys catch this book when you have the chance.
The book was written by a true to life lady lawyer under the pen name Michelle Frances
AMORA FOX lay on the cardboard placed on the floor as her temporary bed. The five double deck beds in their cell were reserved for the mayora and her morons. The entire cell stank like a mixture of urine and dried sweat. It made her puke on the first day but this only angered her jail mates that she was ordered to clean up her mess using her bare hands. It was poorly ventilated that at daytime it served as their improvised oven. Water was scarce.
At least 20 inmates shared in 1 clogged toilet which was half-filled with human manure. It was barely 5 meters away from their cell and its foul odour suffocated her. The bluish bruises on her arms were very visible and a new one emerged which she got early that morning. If she would die now and went to hell, what difference would it make with the hell she was at right now while she was alive?
It was 1 o‘clock early that morning when she was awakened by the banging of their cell. The jail guards wanted her again. This time, they wanted her fresh and delivered to their chief who had been asking for her upon hearing the news that a mestiza high-class prostitute was detained at their station. And so, fresh was she delivered to the faggot who fucked her on top of his table while they were being watched by the rest of the wardens, praying for some left over after their king was done with his meal.
If she wasn‘t mistaken, one of them was even recording the sex in his cellphone. When she resisted, she was slammed with the wooden stick on her arm. Hell, this was hell alright. They just made a joke out of it that she was used to it anyway so she had better thought of it as one of her ordinary nights out.
"Hey, sweetheart!‖ the lesbian warden slammed their rusting bar with her stick, ―You have a bwisitor!"
The warden glanced back meaningfully at the seductive and deceiving transsexual and stared at him from head to foot. Were it not for his hoarse male voice, he could have been mistaken for a real woman. Not just an ordinary woman; a drop-dead gorgeous woman that you would mistake him for a movie star of some sort.
The transsexual ignored the malicious glare of the warden and waited impatiently for his favorite talent and baby. Amora stood up right away, knowing that her handler, Lady Rak, was here.
The warden unlocked the gate and accompanied her to the table where Lady Rak was waiting. She stopped upon seeing him. With his Dolce and Gabbana shades, Lady Rak looked stunning in his tribal print dress made of hand twisted swirls of silk from Donna Karan. A complete package, that‘s what he was, only that he was a lady trapped in a gentleman‘s body. But with his money and influence, he was slowly unleashing the lady within him and eradicating the man through the use of the modern-day technological magic.
Lady Rak rushed to her side and hugged her tightly. "Honey, I‘m sorry it took me so long"
"You‘re late," she said in a monotone.
"Come, I bought some food for you. Your favorite!" he exclaimed, ignoring her statement.
Amora sat in silence as she watched her handler cautiously unpacking the food he brought for her. She hadn‘t had any decent meal since she was detained. And the only instance, when she could eat human food, was after she was used to the jail.
"Come, eat. Eat!" he urged her. She could tell that he could smell the manure from the CR but pretended to act normal so as not to aggravate her situation. But she wouldn‘t touch her food. "When will I get out of here?"
"I have already talked to Atty. Chavez and he‘s willing to ―"
"I don‘t want him."
He was shocked and speechless upon hearing this.
"But why?" No answer. He reached for her hand and patted it gently.
"Honey, he‘s a bar top notch and he‘s one of the best -"
"I said I don‘t want him." She pushed away her food. He couldn‘t believe what he heard. Atty. Chavez always finds a way to release his girls from being apprehended for vagrancy. The said lawyer was able to dismiss the charge for human trafficking filed against Lady‘s man concerning one of his bars which sold minors to foreigners.
"I -I don‘t get it, Amora. I thought you want me to get you out of here."
"But not through that freak!" she shouted uncontrollably.
"Hoy!" the lady warden shouted from her desk. "Wag kang sumigaw dyan!"
"Amora, your voice please. I don‘t want you screaming like that at me." She fell silent.
"I‘m sorry.‖ ―Tell me, why you don‘t like him to represent you?" he asked, sounding hurt and offended. She looked at Lady Rak and the sad blue eyes broke his heart...the very same sad eyes that the latter saw from the ten year old girl he found wandering eleven years ago.
"We both knew he is a sadist. My body aside from the cold cash you‘ll be paying him. And you knew how he enjoys torturing me first before giving me a hard fuck. And she pleaded her heart out, ―Please, Lady, don‘t throw me to that beast."
He reached for the cold hand of his favorite Amora. He treated her like his own daughter. But when it was business, he meant business. "Please? Amora begs. "I‘ll look for another. Can you still hang on?"
"No more. I might kill myself. They‘re raping me here."
"After this I‘ll go to Governor Erias to ask what he can do to the Chief."
"Thank you, thank you." And Amora kissed the palm of Lady Rak.