Thursday, February 18, 2010
Format: hard copy 308 pages
Characters: Mario Silva, Arnaldo Nunez, Hector Costa
Subject: crime, police corruption
Setting: Sao Paolo, Brasilia Brasil
Series: Chief Inspector Mario Silva Investigation
Genre: police procedural
Source: public library
Challenge: Support Your Public Library
Mario Silva, Chief Inspector for Criminal Matters of the Federal police of Brazil, is trying to solve a crime in the city of Sao Paolo. What are these bones discovered when a dog dug one up? They're obviously human, but there appears to be a mass grave with 30-40 bodies. When the local cop on the scene, Delegado Tanako, is killed, Silva's boss reluctantly lets the team go from their base in Brasilia to investigate, although he'd much rather they stay in town and dig up some dirt on the man who is running against him in the upcoming elections.
While in Sao Paolo, Silva, his deputy Arnaldo and his nephew Hector also become involved in locating a family missing from that cities' infamous favelas (slums). Could this disappearance be connected with the bodies in the mass grave? Many theories are advanced, many palms greased, a little romance blossoms, and Silva goes back and forth between Sao Paolo and Brasilia, while his crew continues to track clues. Who are these people? Are they related? Why were they killed? And what happened to the witnesses who reported the other family missing? There are characters who are quite nasty, others who are quite likeable, and the plot certainly contains enough action and clues to keep us turning pages. In fact, I was so engrossed in finding out how it ended, that I read the last 35 pages while working out on the eliptical!
Leighton Gage, the author of this well-plotted who-dunnit, lives part-time in Brazil. His knowledge of this huge country is obvious, and his ability to weave the language, the regional diversity and the mores of this nation into the story is exceptional. The reader gets a clear picture of modern day crime activities in Brazil, and gets a crime detective who hopefully will appear in upcoming episodes.