It's quite a leap from cozy mysteries one day to Leighton Gage's latest Chief Inspector Mario Silva police procedural the next. Dying Gasp is no cozy mystery, with its investigation of snuff films, child prostitution, and kidnapping in Brazil. But, it is an outstanding, powerful story; a mystery that will be hard to forget.
Leighton Gage's Chief Inspector Mario Silva is a member of the federal police because they have jurisdiction throughout Brazil, and it allows him to travel to investigate unusual cases. Of course, as a federal officer, he's subject to the whims and political pressures of his supervisor, and politicians. And, Silva isn't a popular person, blamed for the escape of a criminal. So, when a high-ranking official wants someone to look for Marta, his runaway granddaughter, Silva is an easy choice, even though runaways don't fall under federal jurisdiction.
Silva and his team track Marta to Manaus, a hellhole on the Amazon. One case intersects with another, an enquiry Silva's nephew, Hector, brought back from Amsterdam. A bombing there led to an accidental discovery of snuff films, and the police suspect they can be traced back to Brazil. How can one little town in Brazil harbor so many criminals and corruption? Silva and his small group of trusted supporters must find a way to uncover the dirt and corruption that impedes their case. The muck is much deeper than everyone suspects, even the cynical Silva.
Leighton Gage's Chief Inspector Mario Silva Investigations are powerful books that expose the dark underside of Brazilian politics and life. They're gritty, fascinating examinations of a world we don't want to acknowledge. Dying Gasp, the third in the series, is the strongest, best one yet.
Leighton Gage's website is www.leightongage.com, and he blogs as part of the team at murderiseverywhere.blogspot.com. Leighton also just announced that readers with a Kindle can get a free download of Blood of the Wicked, his first book, when you buy a download of the latest, Dying Gasp, at the normal price. The deal goes until February 5th.
Dying Gasp by Leighton Gage. Soho Press, ©2010. ISBN 9781569476130 (hardcover), 274p.
FTC Full Disclosure: The publisher, Soho Press, sent me a review copy, in hopes I would review it.