Saturday, April 7, 2012

Suspense and Thrills Abound in 'A Vine in the Blood'


REVIEW: A VINE IN THE BLOOD (Soho Crime 2011)
AUTHOR: Leighton Gage

Mere weeks before the big showdown for the World Cup FIFA futbol (aka soccer, as we gringos call it ;)) championship, Brazil's most awesome player Tico "The Artist" Santos is put through a traumatic ordeal when his dear mother, Juraci Santos is kidnapped. Not only do the kidnappers take Juraci, but they murder her maids in cold blood and her sweet little doggie, and they try unsuccessfully to make it look like a break-in gone bad.

Now ... Brazilian pride and sportsmanship are on the line, and Brazil will be playing its arch rival Argentina in the World Cup. Thus, given the political ramifications of same, when Chief Inspector Mario Silva and his associate Arnaldo Nunez are called in to investigate the crime, they're under a lot of pressure to nail the perp. And they have many suspects upon which to focus their suspicions.

Leighton Gage's ability to introduce a wide variety of suspects into the story and weave different plotlines around one premise is truly a testament to his storytelling skills. His descriptions of Brazil also set the novel apart from others in the thriller/suspense genre, by giving the story the distinct flavor of that country's culture.

Gage also writes very strong and capable female characters, who aren't stereotypes. Highly refreshing to this reader's eyes. :)

Which is not to say that Silva and his crew lack a sense of humor. Anything but. Nunez is hilarious. So is "Baby Face" Goncalvez (don't ask -- just read the book :)). Silva has a dry wit and the amazing ability to keep his head when everything seems to turning to sh*t the chips are down.

So, when the case gets wrapped up and the big awesome exciting ending happens, can Silva handle it? That's the question.

But we already know the answer. Or do we?

Leighton Gage has written another highly suspenseful winner. A VINE IN THE BLOOD will keep readers guessing until the very end. Justice is served, one way or the other.

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