THE KILLER by Patricia Melo

THE KILLER

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 An improbably dissociated killer stalks the So Paulo streets with the citizens' cooperation and gratitude in Melo's first English publication. A used-car salesman loses a bet on a soccer match and has to dye his hair and mustache blond. He's in a bad mood from a toothache anyway, so he picks a fight with Suel, an acquaintance at the local bar and challenges him to a duel. When Suel doesn't want to fight, he shoots him down. Now Ma°quel is a wanted man: Everybody in So Paulo wants to give him thanks and presents for killing no-account Suel. Dr. Carvalho even offers him free dental care if he'll just kill his daughter Gabriela's rapist, and this time, reports Ma°quel, ``the gifts were even better than when I killed Suel.'' Even though Ma°quel just wants to settle down with his bride Cledir, the clothing-store clerk he raped--or maybe with Suel's grieving girlfriend êrica--the increasingly lucrative offers keep pouring in so fast (would he please kill the kid who's ripping off Dr. Carvalho's friend Mr. S°lvio? how about the car thief who's plaguing the neighborhood?) that eventually Ma°quel, en route to being acclaimed Citizen of the Year, takes the step canny readers will have seen coming a long way off: He goes into partnership with a detective to offer protection--a little law, a lot of firepower--to subscribing locals. Through it all, whether he's killing bad guys, roughing up his women, or dreaming about a new pair of shoes, Ma°quel resolutely (and eerily) declines to go into his feelings about anything deeper than that toothache, and the resulting flatness of his narration, faithfully rendered by the translator, gives a throwaway aura to his increasingly surrealistic adventures. Little Caesar recast as pitch-black Brazilian farce--with appropriately distorted echoes of The Maltese Falcon, The Stranger, and Yojimbo.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1997
ISBN: 0-88001-574-8
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1997




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

MysteryHOTEL BRASIL by Frei Betto
by Frei Betto
MysterySÃO PAULO NOIR by Tony Bellotto
by Tony Bellotto
MysteryBELLINI AND THE SPHINX by Tony Bellotto
by Tony Bellotto