Mr. Luis Machi is a loathsome Argentinian oligarch who made his fortune collaborating with the worst elements of society―parasites, pushers, and secret policemen. He has a cocaine habit, a collection of three hundred ties, ten million dollars in the bank, and a bloody corpse in the trunk of his BMW . . . but as far as the body goes, he's completely innocent.
That’s a terrific set-up for a crime novel: The locked-room murder mystery transplanted to the cocoon of the car. Ferrari, however, is not after resolution so much as entanglement, a widening net of implication in which Mr. Machi finds himself ensnared ... Ferrari’s plotting is ingenious, not only in the way it unveils the kaleidoscopic, potentially viral network of Mr. Machi’s connections, but also in how it shatters the illusion of his mastery to reveal 'the great beast of paranoia' within ... Even as we shudder at the violence, we cannot help but appreciate the ironies ... hardly a work of literary gamesmanship. Instead, it offers contrapuntal pleasures ... What happens when your world blows up, when everything you thought you could count on is revealed to be a reverie? It’s a question a lot of us are asking in the surreal, occluded moment we have come to occupy.
Subtlety is not something Ferrari has time for. He barrels through this blackly comic story the way his protagonist, Luis Machi, barrels through life: loud, crude and indifferent to the finer points of character and plot as he rushes inexorably toward doom ... Heavy on action and dark humor — fluidly rendered in West’s translation from the original Spanish — Like Flies From Afar is for those who like their noir fast, short and nasty.
... comes with epigraphs from Jim Thompson and David Goodis, and Ferrari's writing is clearly modeled after theirs -- fast, sharp, and pitch-black dark ... a novel of comeuppance -- but Ferrari doesn't go for facile moral tales ... Ferrari's writing heart is in a deep, dark place, and that is where he brings the novel to in its conclusion ... Much here is familiar excess and outrageous behavior, but Like Flies from Afar is fast and furious and sly enough in Ferrari's presentation to work well on its multiple levels -- whether as simple thriller, socio-political critique, or anything in between. A solid little thriller, of and for our times.