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Jakob Arjouni Books In Order

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The German writer Jakob Michelsen, would go under his pen-name of Jakob Arjouni, or Bothe, making a name for himself as a highly revered crime writer. During his time he would create a number of different novels, writing in a direct and straightforward style that really got to the heart of his subject matter. Writing about themes of race, something which affected him growing up, he would tackle difficult subject matter in a heartfelt and sensitive manner.

Leaving behind a legacy, his work continues to be attract the attention of readers worldwide to this very day. Examining the various issues that faced contemporary German society, he managed to say something both real and profound through his work. With more and more discovering his work everyday, his novels continue to resonate, something which will carry on for some time to come.

Early and Personal Life:

Born on the 8th of October in 1964, Jakob Michelsen was raised in Frankfurt, Germany, as he would come to be adopted. This would affect his outlook on life and his work, as his Turkish appearance would mean he would be subjected to racism, something which would later inspire his writing. Born in Frankfurt am Main, he would later attend university, all the harboring a strong passion for both reading and writing.

Graduating from university, he had studied as a drama student, after which he would go on to publish his first bestselling novel at the young age of twenty. Moving to France at seventeen prior to all this though, he’d work as a waiter there for some time, before going on to study. Following this he would keep a home in the south of France for the rest of his life, maintaining it there with his love for the country.

Reaching bestselling status relatively fast at the age of just twenty, Jakob would be hailed as the next big thing in the world of crime fiction. Making a name for himself he’d go on to write under the name of Jakob Arjouni, with a film also produced from his work. His novels would also go on to become translated worldwide, as he received international acclaim for his work as a crime novelist.

Creating a long and illustrious legacy, he’d leave behind a backlog of work living in Berlin until the end in 2013. Leaving behind his family, including his wife Miranda and their two daughters Lucy and Emil, along with daughter from a previous marriage, Elsa. His work is still enjoyed to this day, as more and more continue to discover him, inspiring many writers to follow in his footsteps.

Writing Career:

Bringing out his first book in 1985, Arjouni would make his entry onto the literary scent with the novel ‘Happy Birthday Turk’. This would also be the first in the well known series of Kayankaya novels, following the eponymous private investigator Kemal Kayankaya. Introducing this character, it would become a much loved franchise, and would also become the books he’d be best known for.

Many of the themes in his novels would come from issues that had effected Jakob in his own life, looking at race. Using the format of the detective novel to explore these ideas, he’d cover a lot of ground with his in-depth well researched stories. Not only that, but they were also extremely engaging and entertaining, drawing in readers from far and wide, regardless of their background.

Mainly focusing on his Kayankaya series of novels, he’d also talk about ideas of rising nationalism, along with anti-Semitism. In some cases he’d also reflect the work of George Orwell, as he’d venture into science-fiction with the 2009 novel ‘Chez Max’. This would mark a departure for some, showing him to be a highly versatile author with much to say.

Winning numerous awards too, Jakob was not without critical acclaim either, as he would receive the German Crime Fiction Prize in 1992 for ‘One Man, One Murder’. This would be just one prize, as he would gain international recognition too, with his books being translated into over ten different languages during his lifetime. In 1992 he would also have his first novel, ‘Happy Birthday Turk’, made into a film of the same name, which would come to secure his status as an important writer for many years to follow.

One Man, One Murder

Initially published through the Melville International Crime publication label, this would first come out in 1991. It would also go under the title ‘One Death to Die’, being the third title to be released in the Kayankaya series of novels. Following the case-files of the private investigator Kemal Kayankaya, they’d see him working a number of mysteries in the German city of Frankfurt.

A Thai sex-worker has been kidnapped again, leaving her fiancée to try and find her and get her back from the sex traffickers. On the trail, detective and gumshoe Kemal Kayankaya is on the case, as he seeks to help find her, as he heads into the darkened heart of Frankfurt. Dealing with the racial politics of a forgotten underclass he must navigate a world exploited by the rich and powerful. Himself the son of a Turkish garbage collector, Kemal knows only too well the ugly side of racism and how minorities are treated here. Will he find the woman and rescue her before it’s too late? Can he make it out alive? What will become of one man, one murder?

Chez Max

First published in 2006, this would soon be translated in 2009 for an international market, as it would be a venture from Jakob’s more traditional detective fare. A science-fiction novel, it would reflect Orwellian themes and ideas, speaking on ideas of security in a modern world. Set in the future, it employs many contemporary themes and ideas around at the time, bringing to life a different side to Jakob’s work. Taking place in Paris in 2064, it’s a well rounded novel, and is definitely a must for fans of the author looking for another side to him and his work.

In 2064 the idyll of Euroasia and North America have been fenced off from the rest of the world, as poverty and regressive dictatorships reign. Running a Parisian restaurant, Max Schwartzwald runs the smart establishment, whilst also secretly working for a government agency as an Ashcroft agent. Operating alongside his partner Chen Wu, the two of them maintain the status-quo, but lately he starts to suspect his partner may be a double agent. Will he find out the truth behind it all? Can he question the system he’s in? What will finally become of Chez Max?

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