Perfect Hatred, by Leighton Gage
As Chief Inspector of Brazil’s Federal Police Force, Mario Silva knows which way the wind blows, and that it doesn’t tend to bring good things with it.
So when his investigation of a shocking crime — a suicide bombing in Sao Paulo, of all places — gets interrupted by the assassination of a Gubernatorial candidate in Curitaba, he understands that he has no choice but to put the murder of one, important man over the deaths of many. That’s just the way things work in this country, after all.
But with his team split up, Silva’s going to find it hard to see justice done in both cases. Especially when the key witness to the shooting winds up dead in his hospital room, and the trail the bomber left leads to very interesting places. Dangerous places, as well.
Unfortunately, that’s not the only danger, here. A ruthless smear of a man — free before his murder trial — is out to kill Silva before he can testify against him. This high-placed man may not have a lot of time left, but he has money and connections, and that’s all he needs to gather some dangerous men to help him in his quest.
Can Mario Silva and his team unravel both mysteries before their enemies, old and new, find a way to end his investigations? Or will he be able to use the loose strings of Brazilian justice to his advantage?
I came to this series hoping for an atmospheric mystery with a character I could really root for, and I’m happy to say I found it in Perfect Hatred. The characters are believable, the plot tight, and the denouement very much in keeping with the setting and its sliding notions of justice and fairness.
It is also a very complex mystery, filled with enough possibles and maybes to keep even a canny reader puzzled until the end. The author — a very gracious fellow — challenged me to deduce what was going on after a sufficient page count, and I’m happy to say that I missed the cigar by a wide margin.
(As someone who reads a lot of mystery novels, and can sometimes puzzle out whodunnit by the book’s mid-point, that is a very good thing, indeed.)
The Chief Inspector Mario Silva series has been gathering acclaim for its intricate, hard-hitting police procedurals, and this latest foray into the field is a perfect example of why. If you like exotic mysteries that genuinely keep you guessing, peopled with intriguing characters, all trying to keep law and order in a place where such things are often pushed off the table in favor of favors and appearances, then you should invest in Perfect Hatred.
Perfect Hatred drops February 19th, 2013.
(Reviewed by Jim Tremlett, Eastwood)