Thursday, August 26, 2010

Buried Strangers by Leighton Gage

Title: Buried Strangers
Author: Leighton Gage
ISBN: 9781569476147
Publisher: Soho Crime, 2009
Paperback, 308 pages
Genre: Police Procedural, #2 Chief Inspector Mario Silva mystery
Rating: A
Source: Purchased at The Poisoned Pen.

First Line: "Somewhere around here," Hans said, swinging his flashlight beam from the dark tunnel in front of them toward the thick wall of vegetation on the right.

When Herbert the Escape Artist (AKA an Old English Sheepdog) proudly brings back a human bone and waits for praise, the police are called instead. There, in a rain forest twenty kilometers from São Paulo, police find a clandestine cemetery. And another. The corpses of hundreds of human beings-- often interred in family groups-- have been secretly buried.

This is a case that Chief Inspector Mario Silva can become very passionate about, since he lost his only child to leukemia when his son was eight years old. But there's a problem named Nelson Sampaio who just so happens to be Silva's boss. Sampaio is one of those political appointees with his eye on promotion, and he is absolutely convinced that another politico is sabotaging him. To Sampaio, nothing is more important than Silva digging up the dirt on his nemesis. Does this bother Silva? No. One of the delights of this series has turned out to be watching the machinations of Silva as he circumvents the human obstacles in his way in order to do what must be done.

Although the first book in the series, the excellent Blood of the Wicked was a bit heavy-handed with torture, this second book deals more with the interactions between the characters and is laced with humor. As Silva and his team slowly piece together tiny clues, the reason for the mass graves becomes horrifyingly clear.The extra dashes of humor were welcome intervals between
corrupt cops and politicians and secret cemeteries.

With just two books, this series has become one of my favorites because of the strength of its characters, its strong sense of place, its powerful plots... and its ability, not only to educate me about an unfamiliar part of the world, but to leave me with a sense of outrage over injustice. What am I outraged over? I don't want to say very much because I don't believe in spoiling the plot for people who haven't read the book. I'll just say that cattle in Brazil have more documentation than many of its two-legged citizens.

Entertaining, educational, emotional. Haven't read a book written by Leighton Gage?



  1. Cathy - Thanks for this review. I'm so glad you like Gage's work : ).

  2. Haven't yet read Gage -- ummmm because I have a zillion books in the queue.

  3. I think I've gott all his books here in preparation for reading them at some point, hopefully soon. We've got friends who live in Brazil and my parents visited there several times. I'm very intrigued by this series and look forward to it. Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. That's a good question, honestly. You've really made me want to read this author's books!

  5. I'm not sure why Leighton Gage isn't on my radar because I love mysteries with humor.

  6. Margot-- I don't like Gage's work; I *love* it!

    Beth-- Excuses, excuses! ;)

    Kay-- You're very welcome. I hope you begin reading his books soon. You're missing out! LOL

    Constance-- Good! :)

    Kathy-- Somehow I don't quite see these books as your cup of tea. I think the violence may be a bit too much for you. On the other hand, I may be wrong. :)

  7. Though I found many things to love about his debut, it was a bit brutal, as you say, so I had almost decided to skip the second and third and move on to his forth (he very kindly sent me an ARC recently), but now I really don´t know.

  8. You keep making me want to add books to my TBR list. I've added this one.

  9. Dorte-- I was very glad that this second book didn't feature so much violence, but it still has bad guys you love to hate.

    Joe-- I have to admit that I do like being an Enabler. :)

  10. I haven't read anything by this author, but it sure sounds like I need to!

  11. Kris-- I happen to be slightly biased, but... I agree with you! LOL


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