05-02-2010 01:59 PM - edited 05-02-2010 02:00 PM
When I invited LEIGHTON GAGE to kick off our first month of International Crime, I got a lot of bang for my buck!
Remember when HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN hosted a party at B&N's Mystery last year? Well, Leighton is doing the same thing. He blogs with several authors of international crime and all of them will be visiting this week.
MURDER IS EVERYWHERE
SIX RENOWNED CRIME WRITERS BLOG FROM DIFFERENT CORNERS OF THE WORLD
They all blog at MURDER IS EVERYWHERE, “internationalists” all:
Michael Stanley is actually two people, Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. They set their books in Botswana.
Tim Hallinan writes of Thailand.
Cara Black does a series set in Paris.
Dan Waddell does London.
And Yrsa Sigurdardöttir is an author from Iceland.
Let me introduce Leighton first!
05-02-2010 02:09 PM
Introducing LEIGHTON GAGE!
Here is Leighton's official bio from Mystery Writers of America:
Leighton Gage has lived and worked on all six continents. He visited Spain in the time of Franco, Portugal in the time of Salazar, South Africa in the time of apartheid, Chile in the time of Pinochet, Argentina in the time of the junta, Prague, East Germany and Yugoslavia under the Communist yoke.
He is fluent in three languages and conversant in three more. Soho Press published Blood of the Wicked in 2008, will publish Buried Strangers in 2009, and will release Dying Gasp in January of 2010. He and his wife spend much of their time in Brazil, her native country.
His website bio adds:
He has a daughter and three grandchildren in Paris, a daughter in The Netherlands, and two more in the United States. He and his wife divide their time between all three of those places and Brazil, her native country.
Chief Inspector Mario Silva has a big job. He's a Brazilian Federal Cop. In his country there's no FBI, no DEA, no Secret Service, no DHS, no CBP and most police corporations have no Internal Affairs Department. Mario and his colleagues have to do it all and more. And they do it while traveling a lot. The area of their responsibility is larger than the continental United States.
A recent review of "Dying Gasp" said: "Anyone who can combine horror and humor between book covers as deftly as Gage does deserves closer attention."
"An outstanding series...Gage's talents include not only captivating characters and realistic plots, but also an intensely realized sense of place and an urelentingly fast pace that yanks the reader from beginning to end, unable to stop or pause, just as the cops are unable to take a day off. Silva just may be South America's Kurt Wallander."
05-02-2010 02:11 PM - edited 05-02-2010 02:12 PM
Read an excerpt here.
Chief Inspector Silva discovers a mass-murderer has filled clandestine cemeteries outside São Paulo with her victims.
At the start of Gage's intelligent and subtle second mystery to depict life in modern Brazil (after 2008's Blood of the Wicked), Yoshiro Tanaka, a corrupt local policeman, uncovers a secret cemetery in a park near Brasilia that contains more than three dozen corpses, including those of 24 children. Mario Silva, of the Brazilian Federal Police, has an uphill battle persuading his politically sensitive boss, Nelson Sampaio, that the find warrants federal resources. When forensics indicate that the dead were each missing a body part, Sampaio fears rumors that a satanic cult is responsible will harm the country's tourism industry. Tanaka, under pressure from his wife to bring in more money, dutifully tracks down clues identifying some of the dead people. When Tanaka's attempts to extort money backfire, Silva must pick up the pieces of his investigation. Lovers of suspenseful and sophisticated crime novels will be rewarded. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
Praise for the Chief Inspector Mario Silva series:
“Realistic characters that readers can care about.”—Detroit Free Press
“A gritty police procedural that benefits from its offbeat locale and an impressive tapestry of believable characters.”—Kirkus Reviews
“New and convincing.”—Mystery Scene
“Gage's compelling novels are good examples of how talented crime writers use the police procedural form to lay bare a society.”—Indianapolis Star
In the jungle on the outskirts of São Paulo, Mario Silva and his team find hundreds of unknown corpses, often buried in family groups, and they learn that many would-be travelers to North America who used a local tourist agency have never reached their destinations. The motive for these murders is completely contemporary and completely appalling.
05-02-2010 02:14 PM - edited 05-02-2010 02:15 PM
Read an excerpt here.
Inspector Mario Silva solves a series of gory murders when the landless confront estate owners.
Wilda Williams - Library Journal
Brazil. The name conjures up a seductive image of a bikini-clad girl dancing the samba along a Rio beach. But it is also a country with deep-rooted social and political problems, where less than one percent of the population owns half the arable land, where the wealthy live in gated, guarded luxury while the poor are crammed into squalid favelas, or shantytowns, and where corrupt local police enforce their own laws. Against this backdrop, Gage, who lived in Brazil for many years, sets his debut mystery, a gripping and brutal tale of murder and vengeance. When a sniper's bullet cuts down a bishop in an agricultural town in the state of São Paulo, Chief Inspector Mario Silva of the Brazilian Federal Police is ordered to investigate. Was the bishop, who disapproved of liberation theology, assassinated by a radical priest seeking to redistribute land to the poor, or was he killed by powerful landowners offended by his sermon condemning the recent gruesome murder of an activist and his family? The body count rises, as Silva and his team find their probe hampered by crooked cops, ambitious reporters, and missing witnesses. Sensitive readers, be warned: there are graphic scenes of horrific violence. But Gage's inspector is a fascinating character, a man who once dispensed his own brand of Brazilian justice now charged with upholding the law of the land. Highly recommended.
From the Publisher
“Gage smoothly expands his focus on the assassination of an ambitious bishop to encompass the controversial and entirely absorbing issue of whether the clergy should involve themselves in the politics of land distribution among the poor.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Gage’s inspector is a fascinating character. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal(starred review)
“Achieves both a powerful political thriller and gripping crime fiction in his fascinating debut.”—Arizona Daily Star
“Powerful. . . . A chilling, complex and riveting plot.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“Terrifically written, intelligent and powerfully evocative. . . . Not to be missed.”—Brian Haig
“A novel as rich and complex as Brazil itself.”—Rebecca Pawel
In the interior of Brazil, landless workers battle the owners of vast fazendas. When a visiting archbishop is assassinated, Mario Silva of the federal police is called upon to investigate. Then a newspaper owner, a TV journalist, a landowner’s son, and a priest are brutally killed. In a country where dead street kids are known as “hams,” justice is scarce.
05-02-2010 02:18 PM
Read an excerpt here.
Inspector Mario Silva confronts his nemesis, a woman who runs a Brazilian snuff film ring.
The granddaughter of a prominent politician is missing. Silva and his team find her in Manaus, a jungle hellhole on the Amazon where an evil female doctor is making gory snuff films. Silva must overcome his own department’s indifference and the corrupt local cops before he can obtain a semblance of justice for the victims.
Chief Insp. Mario Silva does battle with not only criminals but also incompetence and corruption within the Brazilian bureaucracy in Gage's darkly violent third mystery to feature the wry, competent Silva (after 2009's Buried Strangers). The case of a missing teenage girl normally wouldn't involve the Brazilian Federal Police, unless the girl, Marta Malan, is the granddaughter of Deputado Roberto Malan, a powerful politician. Marta's disappearance is tied to a kidnapping and to a vile but lucrative international trade in underage girls, prostitution, and the making and distribution of snuff films. The trail leads to Manaus—the worst city in Brazil for crooked cops, poverty, and crime. While Marta, resourceful and brave, tries to avoid her fate, Silva and his small team of top cops try to ferret out her whereabouts before it's too late. Ruthless when necessary and under no illusions about the broken system within which he works, Silva is the right man in the right place.
05-02-2010 02:22 PM
Check out this interview with Leighton Gage at International Thriller Writers' blog - here's how it begins:
Buried Strangers by Leighton Gage
By Julie Kramer
Leighton Gage may be ITW's most worldly author - speaking six languages, traveling on every continent except Antarctica. He comes from a polished career in advertising, yet writes gritty police procedurals with tortured characters and dark plots set in the jungles and slums of Brazil.
In a starred review of Buried Strangers, Booklist calls Gage "South America's Kurt Wallander."
When Gage travels the globe, he doesn't just look at the scenery, he looks at the politics and the people. He's visited Spain in the time of Franco; Portugal in the time of Salazar, South Africa in the time of apartheid; Chile in the time of Pinochet; Argentina in the time of the junta; Prague, East Germany, and Yugoslavia under the Communist yoke. With such a keen eye and unsettling itinerary, it's no wonder his prose haunts.
05-02-2010 02:32 PM
Please give Leighton a big welcome (and look for more conversation with Leighton on the May Features thread, too)!
05-02-2010 05:25 PM
Thank you, Becke, for the lovely introduciton.
And that touch of closing with a welcome in Portuguese (Bem Vindo) did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
I guess most of you know that Brazil is the only country in South America that has Portuguese as their national language. But I'll bet a lot of you don't know why.
You'll find the story here: http://murderiseverywhere.blogspot.com/2010/01/bra
It's just one of the many, hopefully interesting, articles posted by myself and my blogmates on Murder is Everywhere. There's an extensive archive by now, and if you enjoy little known facts, and interesting stories, you'll find them by going to the blog archives, on the lower right of the home page, clicking on the pulldown menus for the various months, and choosing a title that interests you.
You already know, after Becke's masterful introduction, that I write crime stories set in Brazil.
Let me now tell you a little more about the context in which those stories stories take place:
It's quite common to think of the country in which I live as a poor country.
Believe me, it's not.
It's the eighth economy in the world, a rich country with a lot of poor people. There's a huge automobile industry, a computer industry, an aircraft industry, an arms industry. We export those products; we send satellites into space. We’re the world's largest producer of soybeans, the world's largest producer of beef. One quarter (one quarter!) of all the arable land in the world is to be found within Brazil’s borders. Twenty percent of the world's fresh water flows through just one of its rivers - the Amazon. It's independent in petroleum and natural gas. Rich in gold and precious stones. Has immense reserves of iron ore and bauxite. The private jet and private helicopter fleets are the second-largest in the world, just behind the USA. And that's only a sample of what I'd call the good side.
But then there's also the bad side. The income distribution isn’t much better than that of Bangladesh. The crime rates, in American or Western European terms are astronomical. More policemen are murdered, each year, in Rio de Janeiro than in all of the US, Canada and the UK COMBINED. And the police, in that city, have shot more than 10,000 citizens in the last twelve years.
Is it any wonder that I think Brazil is an ideal place to set crime novels?
Crime Novels set in Brazil
05-02-2010 05:35 PM
While I've never personally visited Brazil, my dad has been there a couple times. Also, one of my best friends in high school spent a year there as an exchange student - she now alternates between homes in Rio de Janeiro and the Netherlands. And recently the son of a good friend married a girl from Rio -- the wedding took place in Rio, but they have since moved to the U.S.
Thanks for posting the link explaining why Portuguese is spoken in Brazil -- or should I say Brasil or Brasilia?
Sorry for posting the introductions "piece by piece" - this whole week has been unusual for me!
05-02-2010 05:40 PM
Let me introduce the rest of Leighton's blog-mates:
Cara Black (France)
Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, writing as Michael Stanley (South Africa)
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (Iceland)
Dan Waddell (England)
Tim Hallinan (Thailand)
05-02-2010 05:44 PM
05-02-2010 05:56 PM
05-02-2010 06:00 PM
My Soul to Take
Long-buried secrets go hand in hand with modern-day murder in this second thriller featuring attorney Thóra Gudmundsdóttir from Iceland's queen of crime fiction
When the body of a young woman—badly beaten and with pins inserted into her feet—is found at a New Age health resort in a renovated farmhouse, lawyer and single mother of two Thóra Gudmundsdóttir is called upon to represent the chief suspect, the resort's owner. But upon her arrival she encounters more than a fresh corpse—local legend has it that the resort, located in the mystical region of Snæfellsnes on Iceland's west coast, is haunted. At first Thóra dismisses the claims as nothing more than myth and superstition, but even she can't explain the bizarre occurrences she witnesses in her search for answers.
As Thóra digs deeper into the farm's past, she discovers long-buried information on the property's disturbing history, and her once-solid view of reality begins to waver. Are the hauntings real, or just a case of folklore gone wild? And, more important, does the farm's eerie past have something to do with the murder? When another body is discovered—looking very much like the first—Thóra is forced to put aside her doubts and confront the horrors of the present before a twisted killer strikes again.
With its confident plotting, chilling atmosphere, and smart, compelling heroine, My Soul to Take confirms Yrsa Sigurdardóttir as a new maven of mysteries.
At a university in Reykjavík, the body of a young German student is discovered, his eyes cut out and strange symbols carved into his chest. Police waste no time in making an arrest, but the victim's family isn't convinced that the right man is in custody. They ask Thóra Gudmundsdóttir, an attorney and single mother of two, to investigate. It isn't long before Thóra and her associate, Matthew Reich, uncover the deceased student's obsession with Iceland's grisly history of torture, execution, and witch hunts. But there are very contemporary horrors hidden in the long, cold shadow of dark traditions. And for two suddenly endangered investigators, nothing is quite what it seems . . . and no one can be trusted.
Jessica E. Moyer - Library Journal
A new Icelandic mystery invites comparison with Arnaldur Indridason's crime fiction (Voices), but this title bears little resemblance. Thóra is a thirtysomething divorcée, mother of two, and a partner in a small law firm. She is reluctantly drawn into a murder investigation when approached by the Guntlieb family, whose son, Harald, was killed at the university. With the pay at twice her usual rate and the assistance of Matthew Reich, the Guntlieb family representative, Thóra can't refuse, even though the gruesome murder appalls her. To find the murderer, Thóra and Matthew must delve into Harald's interests in witchcraft and witch burnings and investigate his university friends. Scudder provides such a smooth translation, right down to the slang used by Harald's college friends, that an engaged reader can easily forget this was originally written in Icelandic. Featuring two fleshed-out, involving lead characters and unusual witchcraft details, this is recommended for all public libraries, and readers' advisors can suggest this title to patrons who enjoy Scandinavian mysteries by Helene Tursten and Åsa Larsson. [See Prepub Mystery,LJ6/1/07; for more recent crime fiction from Scandinavia, see "Murder, Nordic Style," LJ8/07, p. 57.-Ed.]
05-02-2010 06:02 PM
05-02-2010 07:16 PM
The Netherlands and Brazil.
Gosh, what a contrast.
When first I went to Brazil, in 1973, it was after spending five years in The Netherlands.
It is a country I know well, a country for which I have a great deal of affinity.
The language I speak with my (four) grandchildren is Dutch.
And I still have a daughter living there.
(The grandkids have been living in Paris for about a year and half now.)
But, today, I cannot see myself living part of the year in one place and part of the year in the other unless there would be some deep ties, like family, to continuously lure me from one to the other.. They are just so different.
It makes me curious as to why your old high school friend does it.
As to the son of a good friend marrying a Brazilian girl, I hope it always brings him as much joy as it has always brought me.
Crime Novels set in Brazil
05-02-2010 10:45 PM
I just reconnected with my Brazil/Netherlands friend a few months ago after more than 20 years of losing contact with her. I'm not sure what kind of work her husband does, but their cross-continent lifestyle is connected with his job.
What are the highlights of living in Brazil?
05-02-2010 10:56 PM
The people, mostly.
Their sense of humor.
The joy they take in life.
The casual visitor, without any knowledge of the language, won't easily pick up on all of that.
So the casual visitor is left only with
a river (the Amazon) where more species of fish swim than in all of the Atlantic Ocean, a jungle with the greatest diversity of life forms on the planet (and more being discovered all the time) some of the finest beaches in the world, many of them so deserted that you can stand on one and see no other person for as far as the horizon in either direction, the pantanal (a swampland which makes the Everglades look small in area and limited in diversity).
Stuff like that.
Then there's the food.
And the music.
And carnival - the greatest show on earth.
Okay, I admit it.
I'm a Brazil nut.
Crime Novels set in Brazil
05-02-2010 11:31 PM
05-02-2010 11:36 PM
Dan Waddell crosses the Atlantic to England - check out his website here.
DAN WADDELL has published ten non-fiction books. This is his second novel featuring genealogist Nigel Barnes, followingThe Blood Detective. He lives in west London with his son.
05-02-2010 11:38 PM
Genealogist Nigel Barnes’s second case leads him into the dark heart of the Mormon church and a gruesome, century-old secret.
Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster is called to a homicide at the home of a single mother in Queens Park, London. Her throat has been cut from ear to ear and her body dumped in the garden. Her daughter and only child, Naomi, who has just turned fourteen that day, is missing. As the hours tick by, the feeling grows among Foster’s colleagues that this is most likely becoming a double-murder inquiry. With nothing in the present to indicate a motive, Foster decides to delve into the dead woman’s past only to find out she does not have one. He calls on genealogist Nigel Barnes. The trail takes Barnes back to late Victorian England where it abruptly ends with a young couple who came from the United States to England. Nigel’s quest takes him on trip through the violent history of the Mormon church as he and Foster race to solve a shameful, long-kept secret that is about to have bloody repercussions in the present, and for which someone is seeking vengeance.
Dan Waddell delivers another gritty, suspenseful mystery that will keep readers guessing until the last page.