55. A Man Lies Dreaming by Lavie TidharI first became aware of Lavie at last year's Nine Worlds and at read The Violent Century this year, which was OK but didn't do a lot for me.
At this year's Nine Worlds he was on the "How to Idea" panel and spoke about the genesis of this novel, set in an alternative 20th century where the Nazis were expelled from Germany in 1933 in a Communist takeover and Hitler ends up just about making a living as a private eye in London. Needless to say, I had to visit the Forbidden Planet stall immediately after the session to buy the book.
I was not disappointed. It's grim and violent and deeply, darkly funny. Even though it's excellent it should have been difficult going, but it really wasn't - I read it in 4 days. There is a real mystery (or 3) which are straight out of Raymond Chandler. Oswald Mosley figures prominently.
But because Lavie is Israeli and the direct descendant of Holocaust survivors, it's not just an alternate world, it's a world dreamed up by Shermer, a prisoner in Auschwitz who was a pulp novelist before the war. And it's also about how the English feel about refugees and immigrants today.
This is the blackest black humour I've ever read, and it's very good indeed.