Sunday, June 15, 2008

Blackout-Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza

Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza
Holt, Aug 2008, $24.00
ISBN: 9780805079609

In Copacabana, Brazil, Detective Welber calls 12th Precinct Chief Inspector Espinosa to inform him an apparent homeless beggar with one leg was shot close up in the heart at the end of an affluent cul-de-sac. Espinosa goes to look at the corpse on Sao Joao Hill, but the murder makes no sense as there seems to be no motive to rob an indigent man incapable it appears to cause any harm with no witnesses since it occurred during a heavy downpour at night. Welber and Inspector Ramiro wonder why such an efficient professional hit on a helpless beggar timed to occur during THE SILENCE OF THE RAIN.

Still Espinosa refuses drop the case because three decades ago when he was thirteen he nicknamed this place Otto Street; the same spot where the murder of “Skinny” as they call the victim occurred. After talking to the night doorman of a nearby complex who found the body, Espinosa hones in on wealthy dinner guests who dined near the murder scene. He knows they are hiding something so he with his two associates exposes their cover-ups, but makes no progress on the homicide even as Espinosa knows the victim is not important to the brass to waste any more manpower on. When another more renowned homicide occurs, Espinoza believes there is a tie to Skinny, but even the Chief inspector concedes both murders seem to lack motives or witnesses.

BLACKOUT is a superb Brazilian police procedural, in which through Espinosa’s dogged PURSUIT, readers obtain an insightful look through a WINDOW IN COPACABANA. The story line is terrific as the Chief Inspector uncovers clues that are either unrelated to his case or muddle the inquiry. Fans of the series will relish this strong entry as Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza continues to provide some the of the sub-genre’s best whodunits.
Harriet Klausner