Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Buried Strangers-Leighton Gage

Buried Strangers
Leighton Gage
Soho, Jan 2009, $24.00
ISBN: 9781569475140

In the Brazilian Rain Forest near Sao Paulo, Brazil, Herbert the “Mop” sheepdog finds a human bone. His owner Hans escorts local cop Yoshiro Tanaka, pathologist Gilda Caropreso, and others to the location of a grave. They soon realize they have found an unmarked mass grave site.

In Brasilia, Federal Police Chief Inspector Mario Silva persuades his reluctant boss Nelson Sampaio to allow him and his top investigators Hector Costa and Arnaldo Nues to look into the mass graves in spite of the politically connected supervisor wanting the case buried before it harms tourism and his career. Each victim including the two dozen children had a body part removed leading Sampaio to fear a cult involvement will keep the westerners home and he will have to answer why. While Tanaka tries to extort money from his inquiries, Silva and his comrades begin to tie the deaths to the Sao Paulo travel agency whose customers were allegedly heading to North America, but never left the country. The killer remains unknown.

The second Brazilian police procedural (see BLOOD OF THE WICKED) is an exciting whodunit made more fascinating by the corruptness of Tanaka. The story line is fast-paced while providing readers with an intriguing look at the country’s largest city. Fans will be engaged with this tense crime caper as the local cop competes with the Federal Police trying to uncover the identity of the culprit for different reasons; one wants to make a lot of real money while the others want to solve the case.

Harriet Klausner