Friedrich Ani

Naked Man Burning - Novel

(German title: Nackter Mann, der brennt)
ca. 223 pages
Friedrich Ani
Foto: Friedrich Ani
© Tibor Bozi

Friedrich Ani was born in 1959. His first novel was published in 1996, and since then he has gone on to write crime novels, poetry and YA-fiction, as well as writing for TV, radio and theatre. His books have received many prominent awards, among them the Bavarian Cultural Ministry’s Advancement Award for Literature and the German Crime Fiction Prize. So far, he is the only author ever to receive the German Crime Fiction Prize for three titles in the same year.

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»It wasn’t death residing at the heart of my plans. It was obliteration.«

The new novel by the 2016 Winner of the German Crime Fiction Prize


At the age of fourteen, a boy flees from the southern German village of Heiligsheim. Forty years later, he returns under the name of Ludwig »Luggi« Dragomir. The tough times he has had to live through since leaving his native village are not enough to prevent the constant reliving of something even more sinister: the abuse perpetrated on him and his childhood friends by some of the most influential people of Heiligsheim.

Since his return to the village, several elderly men have gone missing – a few of them are found dead. Death by accident or murder, that’s what police inspector Anna Darko is trying to find out. Over the course of her investigation, Ludwig becomes a suspect, as he is having an affair with the wife of one of the missing men – a man that he is holding captive and torturing in his home… Because fury has gained the upper hand within Ludwig Dragomir, and now »it was allowed to burn«: »And so there I stood, at the edge of the night, born for murder, ready to die, and didn’t die and murdered nowhere near enough.«

What causes victims to turn into perpetrators and the way this relentless process going beyond the boundaries of cruelty unfolds – this is what Friedrich Ani, master of Noir, unveils in his characteristic style that has no equal: empathetic, surprising and down to the minutest of details.


»a fantastic novel about victims, guilt and delusion.« Tobias Gohlis, DIE ZEIT

»Naked Man Burning is not for the faint of heart. But it’s an important and a necessary book that looks steadfast into human abysses.« Manfred Papst, NZZ am Sonntag

»You have to read it, this book.« Elmar Krekeler, DIE WELT

»Ani doesn’t accuse, he refrains from any kind of search for righteousness or justice, he presents nice next-door neighbours that have monsters hiding inside them. A nightmare come to life, unsparing and gripping in its sombre tone.« Kleine Zeitung

»Naked Man Burning is probably the most unusual crime novel that Ani has published so far. However, his excursion into hardboiled literature is not a mere practice piece, but a fantastic, sinister crime novel about vengeance of Biblical dimensions.« Volker Isfort, Abendzeitung München

»Ani builds sentences as precisely as a surgeon. There’s probably no one else who writes texts this somber, on such a high linguistic level.« Emder Zeitung

»Ani writes German Noir. Straightforward and gripping.« Christian Mückl, Nürnberger Zeitung

»Ani doesn’t write down gruesome details, those develop in our head. He doesn’t speculate, doesn’t write for mere tension’s sake but still manages to draw out the arc of suspense to the extreme.« Ditta Rudle, tanzschrift.at August 2016

Other publications

Ermordung des Glücks/Killing Happiness - Novel (2017)

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English world rights (Seagull), Italy (Emons)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Hörbuch Hamburg), German Radio Drama (Deutschlandfunk Kultur)

Der namenlose Tag/Day Without a Name (2015)

Sold to:

English world rights (Seagull), Italy (Emons), Greece (Gutenberg)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Hörbuch Hamburg), German Entire Radio Readings (HR and BR)