In this unusual, deadpan thriller, the first of a trilogy by a bestselling Brazilian writer, Inspector Espinosa of the Rio de Janeiro police department, a jaded intellectual who'd rather visit a used bookstore than a crime scene, must catch the murderer of Ricardo Carvalho, a corporate executive found shot to death in a parking garage, his briefcase and wallet missing. Was it a robbery gone wrong or was someone involved in Carvalho's business or personal life out to get him? Thus begins a novel with an intriguing, circuitous plot and mysterious, expertly shaped characters, who are always one step ahead of Espinosa. Garcia-Roza shifts tense and voice, showing the reader what really happened everything except the person manipulating the story, whose identity remains a secret until the surprise ending. Espinosa, a solitary divorc, is attracted to two women in the case: Bia, Carvalho's beautiful, indifferent widow, the beneficiary of a $1 million life insurance policy; and Alba, the robust, sexy girlfriend of a man also interested in Bia. A third woman, Rose, Carvalho's loyal secretary and sometimes mistress who claims to have important information, vanishes. When two more people linked to the investigation meet gruesome deaths, Espinosa knows that the elusive Rose is the link to all the crimes and intensifies the search for her. The sultry Rio setting, whose exotic neighborhoods add definition to the action, and a most unorthodox detective should appeal to police procedural fans with a taste for the offbeat.
Enjoyed the protagonist, loved that the book is set in Brazil.
It took me a while to get interested in the book, but I'm glad I did. The inspector is an unusual and appealing hero, and the ending was quite surprising.