29 January 2010

Review: BLOOD OF THE WICKED, Leighton Gage

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime (January 1, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • ASIN: B001E0KW62
The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.

Psalms 58:10

The Bishop of Presidente Vargas, Dom Felipe Antunes, wanted to treat the people of the small agricultural town of Cascatas do Pontal to a  rare sight - he was arriving to open the brand-new church of Nossa Senhora dos Milagros from the skies, like an angel of old - he was arriving by helicopter. The Great Window of the new church was almost five metres in diameter, had cost over 200,000 reais, and gleamed in the sunlight. On the ground the reception party of seven came under the crowd barrier, the  children's choir sang a passage from the Messiah, and then Dom Felipe's head exploded.

The helicopter had been provided by Fertilbras, Brazil's largest fertiliser company, who had employed a photographer to capture the moments of Dom Filipe's arrival, and so he caught the moment of the assassination in glorious colour.

The investigation of the murder of a prelate can't be left to the local police, particularly when they have a reputation for slipshod work and even corruption.

Mario Silva, Chief Inspector for Criminal Matters, is sent to head the investigation Cascatas by his boss the Director of the Brazilian Federal Police. The Pope has phoned the President of Brazil to ensure that the investigation will be given highest priority. Dom Filipe was not just any bishop - he was on a fast track for promotion to cardinal. Brazil's reputation as a civilised country is at stake. The Director has his own eye on the Presidency and so success is of the utmost importance.

Just recently Cascatas do Pontal had seen another murder - that of an agricultural worker, his wife and their two kids. It has also been the scene of land wars, activities by the Landless Workers' League, attempting to wrest unused land from wealthy landowners and restore it to the hands of the people.

When Mario Silva and his nephew Delegado Hector Costa arrive in Cascatas to begin the federal investigation they find that the assassination of Dom Philipe is just the lid of the can of worms.

This was a most enjoyable read, but one with a serious message behind it. Just in case you miss that message, Leighton Gage spells it out in the last pages of the book. BLOOD OF THE WICKED is the first in the Mario Silva series. There is plenty of background about Silva and his nephew, and I would think that makes it imperative that you read the series in order.

My rating: 4.9

Chief Inspector Mario Silva
1. Blood of the Wicked (2007)
2. Buried Strangers (2009)
3. Dying Gasp (2010)

Read Chapter One
Leighton Gage's website


Uriah Robinson said...

Hi Kerrie I am pleased you enjoyed this one.
I have found all three of the Leighton Gage Mario Silvas to be 'enjoyable' reads and each deals with a serious problem in Brazil. Problems that are not exclusive to that country but are exacerbated but the vast disparity in wealth that exists there.
As Leighton told me in his interview "Brazil is a very rich country with a huge number of very poor people living in it".

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - I'm so glad you reviewed this book. Having lived in Brazil for a short time when I was young, I find the culture and the people fascinating, so I'm happy that you liked this one.

Barbara said...

Wow, I like and admire Leighton's books but I can't say I find them "enjoyable" - they're certainly not quite as painful as having a tooth extracted, but I find it hard to feel so hopeless in the face of so much poverty and human viciousness. There are always a few characters who are decent people, which makes them heroic people in the face of overwhelming odds. But mostly when I read his books my feeling is "overwhelmed."

Anonymous said...

I absolutely am going to read this series this year. I have the first two of them I think. Note to self - move Blood of the Wicked up the TBR pile. Thanks for the reminder and the thoughts, Kerrie.

Kerrie said...

Enjoy is a funny word isn't it Barbara? I don't think I meant that "feel good" feeling you get from eating cake - more the satisfaction you get from a story well plotted and I did like the interplay between characters. The wryness when Hector Costa is referred to again as Silva's nephew, as if some sort of nepotism got him the job.

Kerrie said...

Leighton Gage books don't appear to be all that readily available here in Australia - e.g. my library doesn't have them which is both annoying and amazing. I'm growling yet again as I search for a way to suggest a purchase to them.

Dorte H said...

I am glad this one is on my shelf.

Interesting to see your and Barbara´s discussion of what is enjoyable. It is like when I began blogging and often called a novel cosy because I felt cosy when I curled up in an armchair with it. So I know what you mean by enjoyable; I enjoy most of the crime novels I read, even yesterday´s ´noir thriller´.


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