My Favorite Scar
If Kate DiCamillo channeled Cormac McCarthy, the result would be something like Nicolas Ferraro’s fantastic noir novel My Favorite Scar. By shifting the novel's focus from the petty criminal father to his 15-year-old daughter, Ferraro lets us see afresh the terrible effects of a lifetime’s lies and deceptions. Half coming of age story, half murderous revenge spree across rural Argentina, it’s a female-centered take on the classic crime novel. I couldn’t put it down.
A teenage girl and her gangster father embark on a road trip toward revenge in this award-winning coming-of-age Argentinian noir.
Fifteen-year-old Ámbar has never known any parent other than her father, Víctor Mondragón, nor any life other than his. On any given Friday night, Ámbar longs to be at the arcade or a rock concert, but she’s more likely to be patching up Víctor’s latest bullet hole in a dingy motel or creating a new set of fake identities for the both of them.
When a tattooed mercenary kills Víctor’s best friend and vows that Víctor is next, father and daughter set off on a joyride across Argentina in search of bloody retribution. But Ámbar’s growing pains hurt worse than her beloved sawed-off shotgun’s kickback as she begins to question the structure of her world. How much is her father not telling her? Could her life ever be different? And will she survive long enough to find out?
It’s kill or be killed in this gritty, devastating coming-of-age thriller from the king of Argentine neo-noir.
Praise for My Favorite Scar
Praise for My Favorite Scar
Winner of the Spanish-language Dashiell Hammett Prize
CrimeReads Most Anticipated Crime Fiction of 2024
“Knocked my socks off . . . This is a wonderful coming-of-age story, ably written and delicately translated by Mallory Craig-Kuhn, of two lovable characters and a supporting cast of colorful deplorables.”
—The Durango Telegraph
“It’s her [Ámbar's] complex journey through her father’s past sins that gives the story its heart. The rest is a dark, compelling vision of violence and retribution.”
“Paper Moon meets Kill Bill in this unnerving story about how a father’s violent criminal career effects his fifteen-year-old daughter.”
“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 . . . This literary thriller with The Last of Us dynamics will please readers who like thrills with substance.”
“Nicolás Ferraro has a lyrical eloquence with words, making My Favorite Scar an exceptional read by a nuanced storyteller who will leave you scarred in all the right ways.”
—Yasmin Angoe, Anthony Award–nominated author of Her Name Is Knight
“In My Favorite Scar, fifteen-year-old Ámbar's father forces her into a revenge spree that exists at a nexus of noir and coming-of-age, with Ámbar facing truths about the world and her family that she may never embrace, but knows she has to live with. I truly enjoyed this—it had the real noir feel of a Black Lizard discovery, or one of Massimo Carlotto's best books.”
—Nathan Ripley, author of Find You in the Dark
“[Ferraro's] writing is clear, compelling and explosive, yet, at the same time pensively poetic.”
“My Favorite Scar is a success, made memorable by its stylish prose, its foreign location, but mostly by its teenage narrator . . . The periods when the novel slows to a more contemplative pace are amongst the best of the book. We are treated to her most personal thoughts, with a level of intimacy not often found within crime fiction.”
—Crime Fiction Lover
“This tale is a nice mix of crime noir and coming of age as a teenage girl and her father are on the run seeking revenge . . . Víctor and Ámbar quickly become indelible characters as our wayward protagonists.”
“My Favorite Scar is a nihilistic road novel of unrelenting bleakness that takes readers on a hair-raising tour of Argentina’s criminal underworld . . . [Ferraro’s] deftly created suspense builds with every mile driven, every fake ID used, every drop of blood spilled. My Favorite Scar is a pitch-black coming-of-age tale that reverberates with oft-poetically expressed pain and sadness—and maybe, just maybe, a hint of hope.”
“A brutal father-daughter road trip revenge saga . . . Ferraro ends on a satisfying note. For readers with strong stomachs, this offers high-octane suspense.”
“Ferraro smoothly combines elements of noir, road novel, and coming-of-age story . . . The climactic violence is both inevitable and devastating. A brisk, gritty crime yarn.”
Praise for Nicolás Ferraro
“After seventy years of voracious and omnivorous reading, finding a new writer remains a great pleasure, especially one who honors tradition while speaking clearly, even beautifully, in a voice all his or her own. Nico Ferraro is one of those writers.”
—James Sallis, author of Drive
“Written with a relentless pace, Cruz explores the ferocity of family loyalty and treachery. This is a window into a world most people don’t know and no one will forget.”
—Chris Offutt, author of Shifty’s Boys
“Ferraro’s Cruz is like an exquisitely crafted blade, beautiful to the eye but deadly effective.”
—Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of Sleepless City
“Nicolás Ferraro is the kind of writer who understands how to use blood to tattoo a story on your soul.”
—Gabino Iglesias, author of Coyote Songs
“As cold and shocking as a gun barrel against your neck, Cruz is about the blood you share with family, and the blood you spill because of it, set in the savage underbelly of Argentina. A darkly fun, fast-paced and compulsively readable noir thriller.”
—Jordan Harper, Edgar Award–winning author of She Rides Shotgun
“Ferraro’s portrait of a crushingly bleak hellscape where ‘hope and torture are the same word’ is unremittingly violent, but he writes about that world with unabashed realism, breathtaking power, and a narrative ferocity that never lets up.”
—Booklist, Starred Review
“A vivid, bloody noir set amidst prison and gangland violence in northern Argentina, where two brothers swear themselves to different paths and wrestle with their father’s violent legacy.”