A prediction kicks off a gravely loopy third adventure for Rio de Janeiro’s Sergeant Espinosa.
It’s never easy turning 30, but it’s particularly stressful when the Argentine psychic who crashed the 29th birthday party for a young business executive named Gabriel predicted that he’d kill someone before the year was out. Now that the fateful birthday’s looming, frantic Gabriel calls on Sergeant Espinosa (December Heat, 2003, etc.) to lift the apprehension from his shoulders. But Espinosa can think of nothing to do except assign Detective Welber to follow Gabriel around—a tactic more likely to provide a witness to violence than head it off—and beat the bushes for the fortune-teller, who, when he’s finally unearthed, insists that he’s not a psychic and he’s not Argentine. In Garcia-Roza’s crafty hands, the plot thickens—Gabriel purchases a handgun, ostensibly for self-defense; his possessive mother, Dona Alzira, starts stalking his romance-minded coworker Olga; Espinosa strikes up an amatory friendship with Olga’s friend Irene, who aptly notes that “this sounds like a case for a psychoanalyst, not a policeman”—without ever exactly heating up, even though two fatalities will make Espinosa take the non-psychic’s prediction very seriously indeed.
More routine, despite its clever premise, than Espinosa’s first two cases, but still a beguiling and ingenious introduction to the magical world of Garcia-Roza’s Rio, in which places have considerably more solidity than people.