THE SUMMER OF DEAD TOYS: ANTONIO HILL trans LAURA McGLOUGHLIN

Posted: November 27, 2012 in Catalonia, review, Spain

Barcelona police Inspector Hector Salgado has lost his temper and beaten up Dr Omar, a scumbag running a “clinic” that was involved in trafficking of young girls mainly from Nigeria. His superior Superintendent Savall asks him to stay away from that case and look into the apparent suicide of Marc whose mother Joana Vidal has asked him to find out whether the young man had jumped, fell or was pushed from a high window. The trafficking, the police brutality allegation and the subsequent disappearance of Dr Omar will be dealt with by Salgado’s colleague Sergeant Martina Andreu, and a new girl Leire Castro. Salgado will mix with some of Barcelona’s wealthy, but dysfunctional families, as he tries to discover the truth. A search which will lead back to another case, the death of a child over a decade earlier.

It is always exciting when a new author begins a debut novel with fascinating characters that the reader can learn about and hopefully follow over a series of books. When the author covers such a wide range of subjects from Catholic priests and drugs to voodoo and lesbians, and charts numerous sexual and social interactions between the large cast of characters I wonder whether he has given us too much to digest in one book. I really enjoyed reading The Summer Of Dead Toys  but sometimes I was confused as I had forgotten who was who. That might not worry a younger reader with a more efficient thinking machine.

‘Whatever you say. But, in that case, we split the bill.’

‘Never. My religion forbids it.’

‘I hope it doesn’t forbid you eating duck as well.’

‘I’m not sure about that. I’ll have to seek advice.’

She laughed. ‘Well seek it tomorrow…..just in case.’

Salgado, Andreu and Castro are interesting characters and I liked all the details of their personal lives, which means I want to see what happens to them in further books. But next time I will make myself a chart to follow their complicated lives and investigations. The complex plot, well drawn characters and interesting location make this a sophisticated and welcome new entry into crime fiction genre. 

‘No one has ever been killed out of love; that’s a fallacy from tango. One only kills out of greed, spite or jealousy, believe me. Love has nothing to do with it.’    

Comments
  1. Norman – A terrific review, for which thanks. I’m very glad you enjoyed this. And I couldn’t agree more about how heartening it is when a debut novel introduces a cast of charaters that one really wants to follow. Honestly to me, that’s key to whether I continue on with a series or not.

  2. Maxine says:

    Lovely review. Although I enjoyed the book very much, I quite agree with your points about the plot & keeping track. I am just hoping that a large chunk of characters are to do with this specific case and will not crop up in the next! It is a very detailed book, not helped in my case by the odd proof copy I read with wafer-thin pages and the tiniest print imaginable! I think I’ll wait for a finished copy next time.

  3. Jose Ignacio says:

    Afraid you’ll need a chart of characters for his next book, Norman.

  4. Norman Price says:

    Thanks Margot. There was an unsolved mystery at the end of TSOLT to get the reader hooked for the next book.

    Thanks Maxine. If you had trouble keeping track what chance did I have! Although my copy had a reasonable size print font. ;-)
    Someone should do a study on the relationship between print size, age of the reader and if they buy the next book in the series.

  5. Norman Price says:

    Jose Ignacio, thanks for that information. ;-) I hope my brain will be up to it by the time it is translated.

  6. [...] Barcelona police Inspector Hector Salgado has lost his temper and beaten up Dr Omar, a scumbag running a “clinic” that was involved in trafficking of young girls mainly from Nigeria. … It is always exciting when a new author begins a debut novel with fascinating characters that the reader can learn about and hopefully follow over a series of books.  [...]

  7. Good review Norman! This book has actually just been picked as one of only a handful of crime/thriller titles to make the prestigious Listener 100 Best Books list down our way: http://www.listener.co.nz/culture/books/the-100-best-books-of-2012/

  8. Norman Price says:

    Thanks for your comment Craig, and I promise I won’t mention the rugby.Oops I just did. ;-) Well beating the All Blacks once every ten years is pretty good.

  9. […] You can see another review of this book at Crime Scraps Review. […]

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