Inspector Espinosa, the imperturbable maverick of Rio de Janeiro’s 12th Precinct, matches wits with a serial killer whose path seems to be equally fortuitous.
The second murdered Rio cop could be just a coincidence. But the third, also shot in the neck, establishes a definite pattern, though it’s a zigzag pattern. While the police are rushing around trying to protect one another, the killer turns to the slain officers’ mistresses, coolly dispatching two of them and missing a third only because he mistakenly tosses her friend out her apartment window instead. Never outdone in his care for the ladies, Inspector Espinosa is intent on finding Celeste Cardoso, the surviving mistress. In a remarkable switching of serial-killer roles, however, the hunter becomes the hunted—not of the killer, who maintains an insultingly low profile, but of both Serena Rodes, a government bureaucrat’s wife who witnessed the murder-by-window, and the peripatetic Celeste herself, both of whom seem to have amatory designs on the South American Maigret. Which of them will put the moves on him first? Will Espinosa remain faithful to Irene, the graphic designer he met in Southwesterly Wind (p. 62)? And, incidentally, who’s thinning the ranks of both the police department and its lovers, and why?
Garcia-Roza, who writes like nobody else in the world, has produced altogether the most ebullient and delightful tale of serial homicide you’ll read this year.