review by Maryom
It's summer in Seville in 1998 and Chief Inspector Velasquez of the Homicide Team seems to have a serial killer on his hands. The first victim is an elderly priest found murdered in bizarre circumstances, and a rather too obvious trail leads to an "escort agency" and junky Ramon Ochoa. Then a second priest is found dead in the river, an attempt is made on Ochoa's life, and a third victim is found, this time a Russian gangster. The first two deaths certainly seem related, but what would a Russian gangster have to do with two Spanish priests?
Nordic Noir is cold and chilling, but this thriller set in Spain is the opposite, filled with scorching heat. There are trails leading this way and that - suspicions about the priest's activities during the Civil War, the involvement of Russian Mafia gangs, a love-lorn man wishing to free his girlfriend from the brothels run by the Russians, and Inspector Velasquez's personal battle with heroin addiction - all of which keep the reader guessing about which way the story will move next.
You expect a certain level of blood and gore within a crime novel - and as regards the human victims this was less distressing and brutal than I've read elsewhere, but something I really disliked was the bullfighting. Ok this is a part of Spanish culture, and had a role within the plot, but I found the whole sequence distasteful in this regard not one for you if you're squeamish.
Maryom's review - 3 stars
Publisher - Grey Cells Press
Genre - adult fiction, crime