The Last Book :: Zoran Živković

The Last Book

by Zoran Živković

Translated from Serbian by Alice Copple-Tošić

A series of mysterious deaths in the Papyrus Bookstore brings literature-loving police inspector Dejan Lukić to investigate. Here he meets the attractive owner, Vera Gavrilović, and learns that the only thing the victims have in common is that in the moments before their deaths they were reading an elusive and unidentified volume — The Last Book.
As the plot thickens and the seemingly causeless deaths multiply, the National Security Agency, a secret apocalyptic sect and an exotic teashop become involved, while Dejan and Vera’s growing attachment is threatened by nightmares and ever-encroaching danger. Is a literary madman on the loose, murdering readers according to the method laid down in The Name of the Rose?
In a final race against time, Inspector Lukić must discover the secret of The Last Book and the reason why he feels as though he has already read everything that is happening to him in a novel. The extraordinary denouement reveals hidden truths about the clash of realities and the awesome power of the creative imagination.


  • The resolution shouldn’t surprise readers familiar with Živković’s work, but even those that are should find the anything-but-typical thriller denouement a nice twist. … Živković knows what he’s doing, and he does it well here.
    Michael Orthofer, The Complete Review
  • The plot twists and turns at a fairly brisk pace and every hint of predictability is brushed aside nonchalantly after every successive chapter. It is as though Živković wants to issue a whodunit challenge to the user at every possible instance. Every clue, and red herring, is subtly sown into the plot…
    — Pushpak Karnick, Epic India
  • Serbian master fantasist Živković has written what may be the most delicious mystery by a speculative-fiction specialist since Stanislaw Lem’s mind-boggling The Investigation. Unlike Lem’s novel, it is also a discreet, witty love story.
    —Ray Olson, Booklist
  • In an unnamed, colourless east European state, Inspector Dejan Lukić is called in to investigate a death at the Papyrus Bookstore. The problem is that there seems to be no obvious cause of death. What starts as a commonplace detective story undergoes a slow transformation as Lukic’s dreams lead him to an enigmatic dénouement. Fans of Živković’s stripped-down, elliptical fables will be delighted by this elusive metafiction…
    —Eric Brown, The Guardian


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