This novel is gory, even brutal in its portrayal of the exploitation of the great unwashed masses in Brazil. Probably quite authentic. A very suspenseful read with lots of twists to the plot. Would like to see at least one sequel with Chief Inspector Mario Silva.
This mystery novel set in Brazil features Chief Inspector Mario Silva, and is the first in the series. We get introduced to Mario's past, seeing how he began with the police, the horrible event that drove him to it, and learn about his sense of justice. That was back in 1978. It is now the 21st century and Mario is now Chief Inspector for Criminal Matters of the Federal Police of Brazil. When the bishop is killed very publicly as he arrives in the remote town of Cascatas do Pontal to consecrate a new church, Mario is sent out to find the killer. Mario finds himself in a community with an ongoing and escalating situation between the landless peasants and wealthy landowners who hold uncultivated land.
The state police leader is corrupt and complicit in some of the illegal actions. As the murders begin to pile up, Mario and his team are always one step behind the killers, and he finds that he isn't the only one to take action into his own hands.
With social commentary, a sense of the role of religion in the community, and a feel of the wild west, this mystery has lots of violence and action. An interesting beginning to the series. I found myself asking about the nature of violence and revenge, about the ineffectiveness of standard police methods, and about the ongoing social unrest. Lots to think about.
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