My Favorite Scar

Soho Crime. Jan. 2024. 312p. ISBN 9781641295154. $27.95. THRILLER
This character-driven thriller by Ferraro (Cruz), which won Spain’s Dashiell Hammett Prize in 2022, sees 15-year-old Ámbar on the run with her injured criminal father, Víctor, seeking the people who shot him and killed his partner. Ámbar transforms from observer and caretaker to accomplice while she and her father visit his criminal connections throughout the Argentinian underworld, looking for a man with a striking snake tattoo that her father remembers from the shooting. Imbuing the book with the neon trappings of classic noir, daughter and father hide out in a series of gritty hotels and safe houses and eat burgers at gas stations. The book feels like Richard Stark’s Parker had a “bring your daughter to work” day and stands apart from other thrillers as Ferraro gives narrative space to Ámbar’s own self-discovery, including a first romance at a carnival when Víctor leaves her behind to follow a lead. The story propels to a graphically violent ending with some plot turns that feel a little contrived but result in Ámbar taking charge of her own life.
VERDICT This literary thriller with The Last of Us dynamics will please readers who like thrills with substance.
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