Mala Vida

Author: Fernandez, Marc

Publication Date:

September 2015

Original language and publisher

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. French

Territories Sold

Italy (Sellerio)
English (USA) (Arcade, WEL)


Crime & Thrillers

Foreign Covers

Skyhorse-Arcade Publishing

Mala Vida

Author: Fernandez, Marc


Devilishly successful! – Paris Match

A dense story-line of colorful characters. A promising first novel. – Télé 7 jours

If Orwell had met Almodovar, he would have written something like this. – Le Point

Marc Fernandez appears to be a fearsome storyteller, combining smartly historical facts and crime narrative. – M le mag – Le Monde

The atrocities during Franco’s regime still inspire crime authors, and Marc Fernandez masters crime writing. – Liberation

Efficient, well-crafted, with just enough amount of humor and murdered feelings: a great reading. – L’Alsace

Marc Fernandez succeeds like anybody to unveil the childhood thieves. A touching novel without concessions. – Vìctor del Àrbol, author of Toutes les vagues de l’océan (Actes Sud, winner of the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière 2015).

A diabolically forceful crime novel that takes all the noir tropes and uses them in foreign territory to great effect . . . [The protagonist] name-checks James Ellroy, and this sprawling yet taut crime novel recalls Ellroy’s percussive style.Kirkus Reviews

Gritty and very realistic . . . A fine novel of crime and conspiracy.—Booklist

Mala Vida is riveting in its adaptation of historical realities into a thriller atmosphere . . . often with the rhythm of a ticking stopwatch. —Foreword Reviews

Mala Vida is a brooding and powerful noir, equal parts social critique, personal journey, and scintillating mystery, from an author with substantial expertise in both Spanish history and the art of mystery fiction. . . .An unsettling look at contemporary Spain, its rightward shift, and demons from the Franco era that continue to haunt the country today. CrimeReads

“A dynamic, sophisticated book that will leave you eager for more. —LitHub

Present-day Spain. The radical right  just won the elections after 12 years of Socialist rule. An absolute majority for those who are nostalgic for Franco, in a country where people have short memories. In the midst of the political upheaval, a series of murders is committed, from Madrid to Barcelona via Valencia.

The list of victims: a politician, a real-estate lawyer, a doctor, a banker and a nun. There are no obvious ties between them…

Over a backdrop of both the economic crisis and a return to a certain moral order, Diego Martin, a radio journalist specialized in criminal affairs, is trying to keep his head above water despite the coming purge in the media. When he decides to look into the first murder, he hasn’t got the faintest idea that the investigation will lead him far beyond the local crime scene and to the heart of an on-going national scandal – the ‘stolen babies’ affair that started under Franco.
When a specialist in crime and crime fiction intertwines recent historical events and a thirst for revenge, the outcome is both surprising and disturbing. Marc Fernandez has written a dark and fast-paced narrative exposing the most shameful secrets of the Franco era, whose stigmata can still be felt in Spain today.

A début crime novel that reads like a settling of scores with the dark side of Spain’s recent past.

Marketing Information

  • English translation available.
  • Finalist for the Grand Prix des Lectrices ELLE!
  • Winner of the Prix Plaidoiries pour un polar 2016 at Festival Clameur(s) of Dijon
  • Over 27,000 copies sold.

Foreign Covers

Skyhorse-Arcade Publishing