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.’