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A Dead Man in Barcelona    by Michael Pearce order for
Dead Man in Barcelona
by Michael Pearce
Order:  USA  Can
Soho, 2008 (2008)

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* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Author Michael Pearce previously generated plenty of popular and critical acclaim with his four earlier entries in his Dead Man series. Now he offers another intriguing puzzle in A Dead Man in Barcelona, a compelling tale of deceptions and mysteries in which readers are invited to travel back to early 20th century Spain.

Englishman Sam Lockhart, according to the scant official records, died in a Barcelona prison two years prior to the opening of the novel. Scotland Yard's Seymour - the determined protagonist - has been dispatched to Barcelona with a single circumspect mission: find out what really happened to Lockhart, the man with a colorful reputation for having been a bit of a Don Quixote in the midst of a turbulent 1912 Spain.

Seymour is quickly drawn into the harrowing intricacies of Spain's tumultuous culture, politics, society, and international relations. Though aided by his wide-ranging abilities and instincts as well as his fascinating relationship with the seductive Chantale, a woman of multinational charms from Tangier, Seymour must contend with all sorts of obstructions and challenges (where the numerous red herrings are outnumbered by the escalating dangers) as he seeks to reveal the truth about Lockhart.

Remarkable in its crisp, lean, dialogue-driven narrative, the plot of A Dead Man in Barcelona moves along at a deliberate pace, allowing readers plenty of time to savor Spain's intriguing past and the geographical details throughout the novel. Enjoyable and atmospheric, Pearce's latest historical mystery will not disappoint his growing corps of fans.

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