Inspector Hector Salgado is a transplanted Argentine living in Barcelona. While working on human trafficking case, Salgado's violent temper got the best of him and he beat a suspect within an inch of his life. Ordered on probation, he fled to Argentina to cool off for a few months.
Now he's back in Barcelona and is eager for another big case. But his boss has other plans. He assigns Salgado to a routine accidental death: a college student fell from a balcony in one of Barcelona's ritzier neighborhoods. As Salgado begins to piece together the life and world of the victim, he realizes that his death was not all that simple: his teenage friends are either overly paranoid or deceptively calm, and drugs might be involved. Hector begins to follow a trail that will lead him deep into the underbelly of Barcelona's high society where he'll come face-to-face with dangerous criminals, long-buried secrets, and, of course, his own past. But Hector thrives on pressure, and he lives for this kind of case - dark, violent, and seemingly unsolvable.
Gripping, sophisticated, and wickedly entertaining, The Summer of Dead Toys introduces a charismatic new detective and announces Antonio Hill as a new master of the crime thriller.
It's been a long time since I thought of Iris or the summer she died. I suppose I tried to forget it all, in the same way I overcame nightmares and childhood fears. And now, when I want to remember her, all that comes to mind is the last day, as if these images have erased all the previous ones. I close my eyes and bring myself to that big old house, this dormitory of deserted beds awaiting the arrival of the next group of children. I'm six years old, I'm at camp and I can't sleep because I'm scared. No, I lie. That very early morning I behaved like a brave boy: I disobeyed my uncle's rules and faced the darkness just to see Iris. But I found her drowned, floating in the pool, surrounded by a cortège of dead dolls.
He turned off the alarm clock at the first buzz. Eight a.m. Although he'd been awake for hours a sudden heaviness overcame his limbs and he had to force himself to get out of bed and go to the shower. The stream of water ...
Like the titillating glimmer in the eye of a handsome stranger, a book that makes me laugh on its first page promises pleasures untold. I've been known to be a sucker for both. What's more I've also been known to swoon over well crafted, flawed, quirky or wicked-smart protagonists. And Antonio Hill's Inspector Hector Salgado - from his debut novel The Summer of Dead Toys - is all of these rolled into one.
(Reviewed by Donna Chavez).
Full Review (1188 words).
June 13, 2013 headline in The Daily Mail: "Six arrested over voodoo prostitution ring in Nigeria after gang branded women with irons then forced them to sell sex."
It appears that Antonio Hill's novel The Summer of Dead Toys could not be more timely in its depiction of sex traffickers in Spain preying on young Nigerian girls. Young girls, virtually children, are lured with promises of proper jobs as nannies, au pairs, and maids to work for wealthy European families. They come from hardscrabble existences, both from cities and rural areas, where money and education are scarce. They come from places where the belief in voodoo is as devout as it is common. They participate in "voodoo ceremonies" in which they promise to repay their ...
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