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A riveting psychological portrait for readers of true crime classics such asMy Dark Places,The Stranger Beside Me, andI’ll Be Gone In the Dark, one of Argentina’s most innovative writers brings to life the story of a serial killer who, in 1982, murdered four taxi drivers without any apparent motive.
Over the course of one ghastly week in September 1982, the bodies of four taxi drivers were found in Buenos Aires, each murder carried out with the same cold precision. The assailant: a nineteen-year-old boy, odd and taciturn, who gave the impression of being completely sane. But the crimes themselves were not: four murders, as exact as they were senseless.
More than thirty years later, Argentine author Carlos Busqued began visiting Ricardo Melogno, the serial killer, in prison. Their conversations return to the nebulous era of the crimes and a story full of missing pieces. The result is a book at once hypnotic and unnerving, constructed from forensic documents, newspaper clippings, and interviews with Melogno himself. Without imposing judgment, Busqued allows for the killer to describe his way of retreating from the world and to explain his crimes as best he can. In his own words, Melogno recalls a visit from Pope Francis, grim depictions of daily life in prison, and childhood remembrances of an unloving mother who drove her son to Brazil to study witchcraft. As these conversations progress, the focus slowly shifts from the crimes themselves, to Melogno’s mistreatment and mis-diagnosis while in prison, to his current fate: incarcerated in perpetuity despite having served his full sentence.
Using these personal interviews, alongside forensic documents and newspaper clippings, Busqued craftedMagnetized,Â a captivating story about one man’s crimes, and a meditation on how one chooses to inhabit the world, or to become absent from it.
"What makes Busqued worth reading, and why we should be grateful that Catapult has decided to translate and publish him, is that his murder-writing shifts noir into pleasantly unexpected terrain . . . Previously invisible patterns form ominously—in conversations, in the cracks in prison cell walls, between this particular murder case and a thousands other cases you’ve seen fictionalized on trashy television—and just as unpredictably disappear . . . He’s one of the best living Argentine writers translated into English today." ––Scott Beauchamp, Splice Today
"This book is neither crime fiction, nor dirty realism, nor journalism, nor reportage, nor non fiction. Busqued has just invented a disjointed genre, just as raw as the harsh reality that inspires it, with which he revitalizes the expiring protocols of realism: a literary composite or, to use a more formalist description, an ethical and metaphysical montage." — Graciela Speranza, Télam
"Reading Magnetized recalls philosopher Simone Weil’s quote about the dead: Their absence is their way of appearing. What Busqued has done is to erase himself from his own text, to take a step back and leave himself in the mist so that his conversation [with a killer] can occupy the whole book. And in doing that, he has created a new way of writing." —Eugenia Almeida, La Voz
"In Magnetized, Carlos Busqued delves into the mind of a killer in a book that is not a novel but that reads as such, leaving a strange taste in the mouth… In this book, Busqued shows, once again, his ability to create a unique and disturbing universe." —Juan Carlos Galindo, El País