This debut thriller by a twenty-seven-year-old law graduate has taken Germany by storm. The critics are raving about it, and a reprint was ordered after only ten days in the shops. Its narrator is an international lawyer called Max, on compassionate leave because his partner, Jessie, has shot herself while they were talking on the telephone. As he tries to come to terms with this trauma he snorts cocaine in ever-increasing doses, not minding if it kills him too.
The novel opens as Clara, blonde, attractive young radio presenter, comes to interview Max who has called her chat-line for help. She is interested in all the gory details of Jessie's death, but also in Max himself as a possible subject for her psychology dissertation. He has no friends in Leipzig, where he now works, except for Jessie's mongrel dog, Jacques Chirac, and agrees to tell the story of his relationship with Jessie into Clara's tape recorder. She also persuades him to travel with her to Vienna, where many of the events took place. Here, in a squalid secret hide-out, past and present finally merge.
Via these tapes (through which Jessie's whole story is told) the reader learns of her first meeting with Max - at a boarding school for teenagers with behavioural problems. She is already pushing drugs, in which her father and brother are large dealers, and recruits both Max and his best friend Shershah, an Iranian diplomat's son, with whom she then disappears. Twelve years later she re-enters Max's life, begging for his protection. She has witnessed enough atrocities in the Balkans to want - she claims - to escape from the family business. Moreover she alone can identify a vicious war criminal, which puts her at even greater risk.
But what is everyone up to? Max, his law firm, the UN peace-keeping forces themselves - are they all just the tip of a highly corrupt iceberg? And how did Jessie really die? Read this brilliant teaser of a novel and find out.