The little police force of Angustias, Puerto Rico, tracks a child pornography ring.
By 1987, Sheriff Luis Gonzalo has been on the job for nearly 25 years. Now a handful of isolated incidents—a bridegroom from Miami taking too much interest in a little boy’s beauty, a young brother and sister intercepted on the way home from a trip to the grocery, a teenager named Marisol imprisoning her younger brother Samuel in a remote house—create a sense of menace even before Gonzalo gets a call from Samuel’s father, Tomas Villareal, about his missing son. Shortly thereafter, notorious lush Carmen Fernandez calls to report her daughter Lydia missing as well. With so many threads, the story inevitably moves in multiple directions as Gonzalo appeals to neighboring districts for help, his wife Mari makes an awkward attempt to reach out to Samuel’s mother, Isabel, and Marisol flies under the investigative radar. Gonzalo’s two deputies, reckless, fast-driving Hector and gruff old Emilio, beat the bushes and roust some colorful locals with colorful back stories. Gonzalo at first suspects a terrorist group known as Los Macheteros, but when he captures the first of the perps, he realizes he’s up against something far more ominous.
Though it’s often hard to tell where Torres (Burning Precinct Puerto Rico, 2004, etc.) is going, his procedural engages interest with strong prose, convincing detail and local color.