In the remote Brazilian town of Cascatas do Pontal, where landless peasants are confronting the owners of vast estates, the bishop arrives by helicopter to consecrate a new church and is assassinated.
Mario Silva, chief inspector for criminal matters of the federal police of Brazil, is dispatched to the interior to find the killer. The pope himself has called Brazil's president; the pressure is on Silva to perform. Assisted by his nephew, Hector Costa, also a federal policeman, Silva must battle the state police and a corrupt judiciary as well as criminals who prey on street kids, the warring factions of the Landless League, the big landowners, and the church itself, in order to solve the initial murder and several brutal killings that follow. Justice is hard to come by. An old priest, a secret liberation theologist, finally metes it out. Here is a Brazil that tourists never encounter.
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"By the end of this brutal novel, it's hard to care who killed whom. It's also a miracle that Silva, who seems increasingly ineffectual, survives the mayhem. This ultraviolent mystery is not for the faint of heart." - Publishers Weekly.
"Gage smoothly expands his focus on the assassination of an ambitious bishop to encompass the controversial and entirely absorbing issue of whether the clergy should involve themselves in the politics of land distribution among the poor." - The New York Times Book Review.
"Starred Review. Gage's inspector is a fascinating character. Highly recommended." - Library Journal.
"Achieves both a powerful political thriller and gripping crime fiction in his fascinating debut." - Arizona Daily Star.
"Powerful ... A chilling, complex and riveting plot." - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
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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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