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witch read

I like books I can't put down but that stay with me when I've finished them.


The Summer of Dead Toys - Antonio Hill, Laura McGlouglin

The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill is translated into English by Laura McGloughlin (who has to make do with the tiniest of mentions). This is the first of the ‘Inspector Salgado’ novels; what struck as I began to read was the evocative prose. Even in translation, the narrative has a lyrical lilt with masses of Barcelonian atmosphere; you really feel the heat of the city’s summer. We begin the story by discovring that   Hector Salgado, living in Barcelona but from Buenos Aires is still recovering from a brutal beating by a suspect . A teenager's fall to his death and Salgado has to peel back layers of corruption until he’s able to reveal clandestine truths about history in polite Barcelona society. I like the way he links together two unrelated  cases on his books, to solve the crimes. The characters are large, but not larger than life. There is some empathetic understanding with the characters - in other words I did feel for them, even the unpleasant ones, but I found it hard to identify with all their motivations, and in the end, didn't quite believe in their actions, despite the fact that the author’s other speciality is psychology. The Independent’s review suggests this…seems to have arrived fully-formed with confidence and authority, peeling back the skeins of deceit and betrayal in a most satisfying fashion…but to be honest, I wanted a slightly less cliched mystery, with a more satisfying outcome. Maybe I'm over-particular  I'm now stuck into the second, The Good Suicides, which feels as if it will be even better. .