Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Leighton Gage's latest

A good start to Dying Gasp, Leighton Gage's third novel about Chief Inspector Mario Silva of Brazil's Federal Police:

"The bomb aboard the number nine tram claimed seventeen lives. Sixteen were passengers.

"The seventeenth was the driver of a nearby postal truck. Mail from his shattered vehicle littered the cobblestones in front of the Museum of the Tropics and fluttered, like tiny flags, from the branches of the linden trees."
That's a nice bit of lyricism, perhaps unexpected in the description of a terrorist act's aftermath.

Another early chapter has Silva acknowledge what might be the most calculatingly reprehensible act I have ever read by a crime fiction protagonist who is ostensibly a good man. Moreover, Silva's own rashness and stupidity may have forced him into the act. I'm not sure this will play a large role in the story, but it does remind me of what Gage said about Silva and his colleague in the first part of last year's Detectives Beyond Borders interview:

"Silva and Hector Costa are rare cops by Brazilian standards, rare because they’ve both achieved positions of influence while retaining, and often acting out of, a sense of justice. Please note that I’m not using the word honest. Silva is not honest. Costa isn’t either. They’re merely just. In Brazil, honest men seldom seek out careers as cops. And if they do, their likelihood of promotion is slight. Silva and Costa are realists. They know, from the very beginning, that if they want to enforce the spirit of the law, they’re often going to have to break the letter of it."
© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: ,

14 Comments:

Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

You have beaten me to it yet again as I plan to read Dying Gasp as my first book of 2010 as part of the Global Reading challenge. The opening of this novel is stunning and it has taken will power to leave it to the New Year.

December 30, 2009  
Blogger Dorte H said...

A great appetizer!

Leighton Gage´s first is on its way to me as I plan to use it for my global reading challenge. I am not very well-read when it comes to South America, but who knows what will happen after this year.

December 30, 2009  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Silva is not honest. Costa isn’t either. They’re merely just.

This sets up an interesting dichotomy, one that I've always had a hard time reconciling in my mind. I suppose such thematic conflict is what often makes hardboiled and noir interesting.

December 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Uriah, there is still time for you to cheat on the challenge and at least start reading the book in 2009.

December 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dorte, Gage's books are among the relatively few places where one can learn about South America, or at least about Brazil, through crime fiction. He talks in our intereview about the lack of crime fiction in the country, and he also brings up some of the few Brazilian authors who write in the genre.

December 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Loren, we could all name fictional P.I.s for whom justice comes before honesty or strict legality. Fictional police protagonists who adhere to such a code are less frequent, I think. The instance here is especially striking because of the coolness and calculation with which Silva lays out what he has done.

December 30, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Pardon me for bringing up a side issue, but I noticed two references in the comments to a "global challenge."

I can guess at the general meaning, but what are the specifics to this challenge?

December 30, 2009  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Fred:

I came up with the idea of a global reading challenge a few weeks ago, and Norman is one of the participants. You can see the particulars here: http://2010globalchallenge.blogspot.com/
- and should you be tempted to participate, you are very welcome.

December 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Mmm, and what sorts of fiendish things happen to those who fall short of the challenge?

December 30, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Dorte H,

OK, thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

December 30, 2009  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Peter: no need to reveal that yet.

I might expose them in a flash story or something ;O

December 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I may take the challenge informally and consult it when looking for something to read. I think I've met most of the requirements except those relating to Antarctica, and I know where to look when I decide to take my reading that far south.

December 30, 2009  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Great idea, Peter. I know you have a very broad horizon.

But when you see how many cool people participate, you may change your mind ;)

December 31, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I could participate under an assumed name. Or maybe I'll keep it in mind for those times when I'm unsure what to read next. This blog is a kind of global challenge -- I'm always looking for crime fiction outside my own country, and I classify all my posts by setting or country of origin of the book in quesiton.

December 31, 2009  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home