"Sweet Croquette," by David Barba, in Barcelona Noir, Akashic Press, 2011.
When I found out about the disappearance of Swiss gourmet Pascal Henry, I had no doubt that his body had become part of the larder for the liquid croquettes offered on the degustation menu at El Bulli.
Did that opening sentence get your attention? It certainly grabbed mine. I should say that Barba's story of madness, murder and cannibalism is not going to be to everyone's, uh, taste. But it is fascinating and, as it rolls to a bizarre conclusion, hilarious.
The narrator has a job in his family's butcher shop and a wife who has become obsessed with literature at just the point when her husband has sworn never to read another book. Not a recipe for marital bliss. The narrator's ambition is to be a great chef and he becomes obsessed with the workings of the high-tech gourmet restaurants of Barcelona. As you can tell from the first sentence, he draws a conclusion about their secret ingredient, and decides to experiment on his own... in more senses of that phrase than one.
A wild ride.