by Bruce TierneyMarch, 2006
A reluctant cop on the beat in Brazil
When I reviewed Luis Alfredo Garcia-Roza's A Window in Copacabana in January 2005, I wrote (some might say gushed ) that the book was tropical noir at its best, lush with exotic background and sophisticated in dialogue and plot. Now, Garcia-Roza is back with another tale featuring the likable and literate Chief Inspector Espinosa, Pursuit. If given free rein, Espinosa would much prefer to own an upscale used book shop, but he continues nonetheless to employ his vast powers of deduction and intuition in solving some of Rio's most puzzling murders. Espinosa is enjoying his December vacation (the height of Brazilian summer), when he receives a call from a noted psychologist. It seems the psychologist's daughter has disappeared with one of his patients, a young man who is none too stable. The psychologist is convinced that his daughter has been kidnapped, but the police are unwilling to intervene without more evidence. A few days later, the girl returns unharmed, insisting it was all a misunderstanding (but she is not entirely believable). Shortly thereafter, her erstwhile captor turns up dead. It will be but the first in a chain of killings, all linked to the psychologist and/or his former patient. Pursuit is not a conventional police procedural; rather, it is a dreamy tropical tale reminiscent of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency stories, with a dash of Gabriel Garc’a M‡rquez to add a bit of darkness.