Select one of the keywords
Blood of the Wicked: A Chief Inspector Mario Silva Investigation    by Leighton Gage order for
Blood of the Wicked
by Leighton Gage
Order:  USA  Can
Soho, 2009 (2008)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Having recently read Leighton Gage's exemplary police procedural Buried Strangers (reviewed and highly recommended previously here at BookLoons), I knew that I needed to go back as soon as possible to the first installment in the two-book series featuring Chief Inspector Mario Silva of the Brazilian Federal Police. And, having done so, I have discovered that Leighton Gage's superb writing in Buried Strangers was simply a continuation of the powerhouse skills adroitly showcased in his debut novel Blood of the Wicked.

When the compelling action in Blood of the Wicked begins, a Roman Catholic bishop steps off a helicopter and is inexplicably murdered in the city of Cascatas do Pontal. Mario Silva's boss - the consistently annoying Machiavellian supervisor Nelson Sampaio - gives Silva a direct order: go immediately to Cascatas do Pontal and 'catch the filho da puta who did it.'

So, Silva, the chief inspector for criminal matters in Brasilia, soon finds himself in a dangerous, explosive city where the bishop's murder at first seems to be linked to conflicts between zealous adherents to the remnants of Liberation Theology (discredited and condemned by Rome) and wealthy landowners. However, Silva quickly recognizes that the bishop's murder may, in fact, be connected to other regional killings, and - more significantly - the bishop's killer might be among those who see themselves as being involved in 'some kind of Holy War, a crusade, a Christian jihad.'

Even as readers are treated to an intriguing mystery in which the themes of economic, social, and political justice dominate, the author Gage also provides essential subplots and background about Chief Inspector Silva, a man dedicated to law enforcement because his life has been beset by tragedies: the murder of his father, the rape and suicide of his mother, the killing of his brother-in-law, the death of his young son, and the slow descent of his wife into the miasma of alcoholism and depression.

As Blood of the Wicked comes to an exciting end, readers will discover that the novel is more than a first-rate police procedural in which Silva must contend with corruption, deceit, and violence. The novel also becomes a post-modern morality play in which someone with a wickedly bloody strategy seeks and obtains divine justice in a perversely corrupt world.

Finally, the bottom line is this: if you enjoy chilling, complex, and intelligent thrillers, you really should treat yourself to reading Leighton Gage's novels. You will not be disappointed.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews