Silvia Moreno-Garcia

On a small island, objects disappear — perfume, boats, roses, photographs — and the memory police monitor the inhabitants, ensuring these things will be eternally forgotten. It seems like a metaphor for state surveillance; if The Memory Police were an American novel, it might yield a contrarian hero determined to fight off the tyranny of the police. It would be something akin to The Handmaid's Tale, or the movie version of Minority Report.

It's a curious process, looking back at marketing trends of yore. Take the ubiquity of the stepback covers in the romance section during the 1980s: It seemed that every handsome Scottish warrior squeezing a buxom lass came with one of those peek-a-boo cutouts.

A decade earlier, my mother's novels frequently bore the tagline "a novel of suspense!" I'm sure books nowadays still say the same thing sometimes, but back then the phrase seemed to be stamped on covers everywhere.

Small towns filled with secrets and an unlikely detective duo go together like an Aperol spritz before pasta – which is to say, very well. The small town in Illaria Tuti's Flowers Over the Inferno, translated by Ekin Oklap, is located in the northern Italian mountains and the duo in question are two cops sent to solve a startling, eye-gouging murder (I'm being literal here). How well these two investigators pair up is a matter of debate, though.