Yugoslavia, 1991. The State is crumbling, and in the midst of the political chaos secret policeman Marko della Torre has been working both sides of the law - but somewhere along the way he's crossed the line. When a corrupt cop called Strumbc helps three hired Bosnian thugs to hunt him down and kill him, della Torre makes a run for it through Croatia, Italy, and finally to London, where he'll take Strumbic for all he's worth.
A page-turning thriller shot through with black humour and razor-sharp dialogue, Zagreb Cowboy is the spectacular debut novel in a taut new crime fiction series.close this panel
Alen Mattich was born in Zagreb, Croatia, and grew up in Libya, Italy, Canada, and the United States. He went to McGill University for his undergraduate degree and did post-graduate work at the London School of Economics. A financial journalist and columnist, he's now based in London and writes for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal. The second Marko della Torre novel, Killing Pilgrim, will be published in fall 2013.close this panel
Alen Mattich has done an uncanny job in recreating the surreal sense of menace which pervaded the Croatian capital, Zagreb, on the eve of the devastating wars in Yugoslavia. But Mattich's real genius lies in his ability to inject moments of high comedy into this gripping thriller so that he reads like a European Carl Hiassen.
Zagreb Cowboy is invigorating Euro noir, dark and energizing as good coffee. Alen Mattich's series is off like a shot.
A kamikaze-paced ride...Zagreb Cowboy sets things up well for the next book, and for Mattich to look deep into the black heart of the Balkan conflict.
Della Torre is one of a number of dark, witty characters trying to survive amid desperate times ... Mattich mines Yugoslavia's past -- secret police misdeeds, regional divisions and simmering old scores -- and the country's shaky reality in the early '90s.