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Fans of both Patricia Highsmith's twisted psychological thrillers and atmospheric foreign police procedurals, like those of Donna Leon and Henning Mankell, alike will go gaga for this fine novel by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Ruiz. his hero is Chief Inspector Espinosa of the Rio de Janeiro police--honest, philosophical, and possessed of almost a dreamy quality. Even his partners on the force and his girlfriend know better than to try and talk to him when he drifts off into a sort of fugue state where he lets his imagination work on the crime he's investigating even if it takes hours. He's a most unusual, but likable, protagonist.

This entry in the series though focuses as much or more on a series of crimes that afflict a psychiatrist's family and on the patient who may be the perpetrator or another victim or both. The doctor is one Arthur Nesse who contacts Espinosa when his seventeen-year old daughter goes missing. The patient is named Isidoro Cruz, though he insists on being called Jonas for no apparent reason. Dr. Nesse handles this quirk less well than we might expect a mental health professional to and does no better when Jonas begins to follow him and to wait on a bench outside the hospital for hours, even though he knows that patients often develop a fascination with their psychiatrists. Even worse, at the point where he brings in Espinosa he fears that Jonas may have taken his daughter.

Mr. Garcia-Roza tells the events of the novel in three separate story sections, essentially assigning the leads to first Jonas, then Nesse, and then Espinosa, though there are obviously overlaps and the narrative perspective is always omniscient. Even when all the storylines are brought together we are still left with questions about what's been real and what imagined in the way characters perceive each other's behavior. But these lingering doubts are appropriate to a tale that's been as much a psychological puzzler as a crime mystery. You'll savor them as much as the novel itself.


Grade: (A)


Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza Links:

    -BOOK SITE: Pursuit: An Inspector Espinosa Mystery (Written Voices)
    -EXCERPT: Prologue to Pursuit
    -EXCERPT: from A Window in Copacabana
    -INTERVIEW: Interview with Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza (Interview by Mehroo Siddiqui, Absolute Write)
    -ESSAY: By the twitching of my thumb...: Peter Guttridge travels the world in search of the best detective fiction (Peter Guttridge, May 11, 2003, The Observer)
    -ESSAY: Bloody Murder in Brazil (G.J. Demko Landscapes of Crime)
    -REVIEW: of Pursuit by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza (Alan Paul Curtis, Who-Dunnit)
    -REVIEW: of Pursuit (Debra Hamel, MetaxuCafe)
    -REVIEW ARCHIVES: of The Silence of the Rain by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza (
    -REVIEW: of The Silence of Rain (Kate Morrison, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of The Silence of Rain (Susanna Yager, Daily Telegraph)
    -REVIEW: of The Silence of Rain (Sarah Adams, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of The Silence of the Rain (Philip Herter, St. Petesburg Times)
    -REVIEW: of The Silence of the Rain (Tom Nolan, SF Chronicle)
    -REVIEW: of December Heat by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza (Isobel Montgomery, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of December Heat (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Southwesterly Wind, by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza (Laura Wilson, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of Southwesterly Wind (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Southwesterly Wind (Catherine Hunt, Shots Mag)
    -REVIEW: of Southwesterly Wind (Toby Clements, Daily Telegraph)
    -REVIEW: of Southwesterly Wind (Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered)
    -REVIEW: of A Window in Copacabana (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of A Window in Copacabana (
    -REVIEW: of A Window in Copacabana (Amy Coffin, Book Haven)
    -REVIEW: of A Window in Copacabana (BRUCE TIERNEY, BookPage)

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