From Denmark to Italy – but none of Høeg’s ornate use of language is to be found in the caustic and blunt Suburra by Carlo Bonini and Giancarlo De Cataldo (Europa Editions, £13.99). This massive crime epic, already adapted for TV, is translated by Antony Shugaar in unfinessed fashion (“Samurai ripped them into shreds. His friend never even fired a shot. Then they shovelled the remains into trash bags and dropped them into the Tiber”). Italy, with its endemic political and religious corruption, is fertile territory for crime fiction. Choosing the Berlusconi era as it enters its long-overdue final phase, Bonini and De Cataldo (a magistrate and journalist respectively) name their narrative for Suburra, a rundown and lawless area of Rome. The financial crisis of 2008 has allowed the Mafia to gain even greater influence over the police, their own criminal foot soldiers, far-right extremists and a deeply compromised Catholic Church plagued by sex scandals. There’s no nuance here, but Suburra is a reminder that crime fiction can say as much about a society as other genres.