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by Robert Wilson
HarperCollins, September 2004
358 pages
ISBN: 0007117833

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Author Robert Wilson has crafted another mesmerizing novel that revels in the veniality, endless thirst for power and money, and illicitness of humankind. One cannot suppose that a senior inspector of the Seville constabulary will be sent out on a run-of-the-mill suicide, yet that's exactly what it appears to be at first glance. Well, on further examination, perhaps a murder suicide.

In a house located in a nice upscale neighborhood of Seville, a house built like a fortress, a man can be clearly seen through a downstairs window, lying sprawled on the kitchen floor. It can be deduced that he is not merely passed out, but he is dead. Getting in to the house to verify his condition is difficult and the police are called.

Deeply troubled Inspector Javier Falcon is summoned and when keys to the massive front entrance are finally procured, police enter to find the man, Mr Rafel Vega, indeed dead. And upstairs in her bedroom, his wife, Luicia Vega, is also dead. Smothered, it would appear, with her own pillow. What seems straightforward at first glance puts a faint, worrisome, feeling in Inspector Falcon's mind. At first he attributes this to his own depression and unsettled circumstances.

He's the son of a famous painter to whom great scandal has recently been attached. What's more, his divorce is relatively recent and now he discovers that his former wife is about to marry one of the principal justices in the Spanish legal system, a man with whom Javier must regularly work, an ambitious man who Falcon doesn't necessarily like.

Then a note is found crushed in the dead man's hand. It calls up dark memories from the past, memories that turn out to have an unnerving connection to the horrific events of September 11 2001. Acting carefully on this slimmest of leads, Falcon and his loyal team find themselves dipping into a vastly complex conspiracy of slavery, money-laundering and other crimes against humanity. Here is a tightly-woven, carefully-measured novel that will draw you in step by step, through the enervating heat of a summer in Seville, for a frightening look at the ways we abuse power, money and each other.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, October 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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