Barcelona Gumshoe

The Summer of Dead Toys: A Thriller, by Antonio Hill, (Random House, Broadway Books), 368 Pages

Barcelona makes a great setting for a mystery novel, and Antonio Hill puts the city to good use in The Summer of Dead Toys. This isn’t the murky, mysterious Barcelona that some readers may know through the work of Carlos Ruiz Zafón; this is a sweltering, modern-day Barcelona, gasping its way through a heat wave.

Inspector Héctor Salgado, the central character of this novel, is just the sort of man one expects to find in such a  book: abused by a violent father as a boy, now divorced, communicating with his son only occasionally, not always able to keep his own rage in check. This rage is a pressing issue at the start of the novel. Salgado is returning from a suspension, currently on probation because he attacked a member of a human trafficking ring. His first upon his return looks straightforward—a probable accidental death. Of course, nothing in the world of thrillers is ever straightforward…

Hill’s prose (as translated from the Spanish by Laura McGloughlin) is perfectly suited to his tale. The pacing is brisk, the sentences unadorned. One enters the current of the novel and is pulled along at increasing speed, making this a book you’ll be tempted to read in a single sitting. If thrillers are your sort of read, you can’t go wrong with The Summer of Dead Toys. And you’ll probably find yourself, as I am, hoping we haven’t seen the last of Inspector Salgado.

June 29 2014 06:34 am | Uncategorized

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