It is the eve of the FIFA World Cup, the globe's premier sporting event. The host country is Brazil. A victory for the home team is inextricably linked to the skills of the country's principal striker, Tico "The Artist" Santos, the greatest player in the history of the sport. All the politicians in Brasilia, from the President of the Republic on down, have their seats squared-away for the finale, when they hope to see Argentina, Brazil's bitterest rival, humbled by the Brazilian eleven. But then, just three weeks before the first game, Juraci Santos, Tico's mother, is kidnapped. The star is distraught. The public is appalled. The politicians are outraged. And the pressure is on Chief Inspector Mario Silva to get her back.
Suspects aren't lacking. Among them, are a cabal of Argentineans, suspected of having spirited the lady away to put Tico off his game, the star's gold-digging, top-model girlfriend, whom his mother dislikes and has been trying to get out of his life, his principal rival, who wants to play in the World Cup in Tico's place, and the man whose leg Tico broke during a match, thereby destroying his career. In the end, Silva and his crew discover that the solution to the mystery is less complex - but entirely unexpected.
"Starred Review. Rising above Brazilian brutality, corruption, and bribery with uncommon wit and the help of his colorful, appealing colleagues, he scores a winning goal in an enormously complex kidnap payoff scheme." - Publishers Weekly
"Gage knows Brazil well and has a cast of characters so amusing and so skillfully constructed that this novel is irresistible." - Toronto Globe and Mail
"There's nothing low-key about Brazilian cop Mario Silva's fifth case (Every Bitter Thing), especially since the kidnapping coincides with the FIFA World Cup and the victim is a Brazilian soccer star's mother." - Library Journal
"Silva himself is something of a homebody, sticking to his familiar Sao Paolo turf, but that doesn't stop Gage from conveying a strong sense of place and Brazilian culture. This time he pairs that with an engaging and fast-paced mystery that suggests real-life scenarios..." - Booklist
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Leighton Gage's books are crime novels set in Brazil. The author has lived in Australia, Europe, and South America and traveled widely in Asia and Africa. 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 and his wife spent much of the year in a small town near São Paulo, and the rest in Europe and the United States, where they have children and grandchildren. He died in late July 2013 at the age of 71.
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