Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill

Did he fall or was he pushed?

Crown Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

This story is set in Barcelona.  It's a good mystery, but it's also fun for me to read about other countries and learn about the area as I read.  The author does a good job of adding the flavor of the countryside and the people to his story.

Inspector Hector Salgado was put on administrative leave after beating a doctor involved in a child prostitution ring.  He almost killed the man with his fists.  He doesn't want to admit why he did that, but he also knows he needs to control his temper if he wants to keep his job.  Now he's back on the job and must visit the police psychologist as part of his rehabilitation.  The chief gives him a safe assignment:  Investigate a death and assure the mother that the boy committed suicide.  Sounds simple enough, but Hector knows someone is not telling him the whole story.  His friends all have convenient excuses, but no one saw him jump and they all claim they did not push him.  Who's lying about what?

One thing I appreciate about reading international mysteries written over the pond is that the authors add little side plots and really delve into the personalities of their characters.  I don't normally find that character nuance charming in American stories, but European characters seem to need that element to make the story work well and help you understand the conflict. In this story I learned a lot about Hector, those he works with, and how they take care of each other but still follow the law. 

I didn't see the end coming in this story.  I thought it was probably a bad deed done by a drug gang member.  It was not.  I'm sure you'll be surprised, too.  See if you can determine it earlier in the book and let me know if you do.  Or just tell me if you were as surprised as I was to find out who was perpetrating the crime.  The side mystery is just as bad.  This author weaves tangled tales...

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