All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Perfect Hatred – Leighton Gage

on March 12, 2013

Perfect HatredPerfect Hatred (Chief Inspector Mario Silva #6)
Leighton Gage
SoHo Press
2013, 311p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

It begins with a suicide bombing at the US consulate in São Paulo, when what looks like a young Muslim mother pushing her baby in a pram sets off an explosive bomb. Chief Inspector of the Brazilian Federal Police, Mario Silva has barely begun to pull together a team when he is abruptly interrupted and told to prioritize another case. The assassination of a Gubernatorial candidate in Curitaba demands his full attention.

Silva and the people he trusts begin investigating both incidents, looking into the possibility of a connection between the two crimes. As well as the assassination and the terrorist attack, which could bring forth the wrath of four governments if they don’t solve where the extremists got the explosives from and soon, Silva has another problem. He’s a witness in a case that will see a notorious criminal named Muniz put away for many years, something that Muniz isn’t going to take lying down. He has put into place plans to kill Silva personally and he’s going to enjoy it.

Perfect Hatred is the 6th novel in the Brazilian police procedural series featuring Chief Inspector Mario Silva and I’ve come to enjoy returning to Brasilia and its surrounds each year and watching Silva and his colleagues put their considerable investigative powers to good use. I always learn things too, while reading these novels, which is lots of fun. It’s great to revisit a setting that I really still don’t know a huge amount about and get more of a feel for the culture, the bureaucracy, the criminal element. And this one opens with a bang with something that I wouldn’t particularly expect in Brazil, a terrorist bombing. There’s a small but strong Muslim community in the area (which I also didn’t know – apparently at one stage there were more Lebanese in São Paulo than Beirut) and it seems that this bombing is the work of a militant Islamic group. Also – the amount of C4 that has gone missing is a lot more than was used to make the bomb so Silva and his crew know that there is a lot more out there. They’ll need to work fast to find it before it can be used to take more lives.

What helps Mario and his crew is that the bomb contains a “signature” in the fragments of explosive which help trace its origin back to the Paraguayan military. Because the bomb was underneath the baby and exploded up through it, they can also trace fragments of the baby’s DNA through these same identification taggants. This allows them to not only track down who sold the C4 explosive and who they sold it to but also the ability to attempt to track down the baby’s parents. It doesn’t take Mario long to realise from the CCTV footage that the person pushing the pram is not a woman and therefore this is probably a kidnapping, using the baby and pram carriage for the purposes of camouflage.

This book is Silva and his team doing what they do best – using their calm, methodical investigative techniques to dig out the crucial information they need and slowly put a case together despite being blocked at nearly ever turn. Silva is the sort of character that you never really learn too much about – I’m six books in (although I think there’s 1 I haven’t read) and although I can judge for myself a lot about his character, I don’t really know what he’s thinking. He’s had some tragedy in his life and this seems filed grimly away. A sentence here or there gives you a glimpse into it and the situation with his wife, who has never really recovered. Silva seems the sort to bury himself in his work and living where he does, he always has quite a lot of work to bury himself in. This time we are introduced to a new level of corruption in neighbouring Paraguay. Paraguay makes Brazil look lily white and Silva and his colleagues find themselves blocked numerous times by various “businessmen” and a jihadist Islamic priest but they are pretty skilled in maneuvering themselves around blocks and finding not only ways to get in, but ways to do this and annoy the people who were blocking them.

I also really liked the subplot involving the criminal Muniz who is about to face lengthy jail time thanks to Silva and a prosecutor  He seeks to negate this by eliminating both of them but finds himself having some trouble with his paid help along the way and an irrational but amusing fear of water doesn’t help either. I actually found some of the scenes featuring Muniz very tense (which are balanced out by the other investigative scenes) and even though I know that Silva is extremely unlikely to die, I have to admit, I feared for the people around him who might be considered more expendable.

Perfect Hatred reminds me why I like novels that I term to be “smart crime” – those which are equal parts informative and sinister. I love learning about places in South America and the intricacies of relations between countries in South America as well as on a smaller scale, the relationship between various forms of government, bureaucracy and different agencies in Brazil. You get the picture of a country that has both great wealth and crippling poverty and Silva encounters it all.


Book #59 of 2013


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