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The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill
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The Summer of Dead Toys (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Antonio Hill

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11910101,247 (3.29)3
Member:maneekuhi
Title:The Summer of Dead Toys
Authors:Antonio Hill
Info:Doubleday London (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:cf, series, intl, Barcelona

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The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill (2011)

Recently added byprivate library, avaland, thosliot, martinhughharvey, C.J.McBride-Stern, bookmuse56
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English (8)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (10)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A seemingly simple case of a young man falling to his death, at first it appeared to be accidental or perhaps a suicide, but no one thought it was murder, not until Inspector Hector Salgado was assigned the case upon his return to Barcelona from a lengthy vacation in his native Buenos Aires.

“The Summer of Dead Toys” is Antonio Hill’s first book featuring Barcelona’s criminal detective Inspector Hector Salgado. We first meet Inspector Salgado as he returns from Buenos Aires, where he has been cooling his heels after an incident where he unmercifully beat a questionable Dr. Omar who caused the death of a young Nigerian girl. This young girl had been kidnapped by a human trafficking network in which the doctor was involved, a network that Inspector Salgado spent more than a year trying to break. Salgado’s superior, Superintendent Savall, put him on leave of absence while Savall dealt with the beating incident.

Now that Inspector Salgado is back to work, and the beating incident not yet finalized as Dr. Omar has suddenly gone missing, Inspector Salgado is assigned the task of quickly closing this case of Marc Castells Vidal’s fall to his death. Marc’s estranged mother, Joana Vidal, a long ago friend of Superintendent Savall, has asked the Superintendent to look into the death of her son as she doesn’t believe it was suicide and wants proof that is was not. A simple case becomes more complicated as Inspector Salgado, and his partner, the “new girl” Agent Leire Castro, delve into what actually happened that night. Everyone involved with this case, other than Inspector Salgado and Agent Castro, either are hiding something or just want the case closed as an accidental death. No one wants Salgado to prove murder.

This book was quite good as it was not a straight forward case of it being murder; was it murder or was it what everyone wants it to be, accidental. The case escalates as we meet the people involved in Marc’s life. Then there is the side story of the Dr. Omar case, a case which doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, and the side stories of the personal lives of Salgado and Castro that bring a human touch to the book. The ending was a surprise and I think most readers will be as surprised as I was. I look forward to reading the next Inspector Hector Salgado book “The Good Suicides,” and learning more about Salgado and Agent Castro, two people I like very much.
  C.J.McBride-Stern | Sep 17, 2014 |
Excellent characterizations and plenty of plot twists wrapped in a dark timbre makes for a satisfying and entertaining read. This book introduces us to Inspector Hector Salgado, a Barcelona police homicide detective, who has just returned from visiting his native Argentina, as he is on “forced” leave due to beating up a sex trafficker ring leader who denied culpability in the death of a young Nigerian girl. Because of his violent actions, Hector is taken off this case while his former partner Sgt. Martina Andreu continues the investigation and stealthy keeps him updated. Now assigned to an open-and-shut case of a wealthy young man who fell to death from his balcony, Hector and his new partner Leire Castro are told to quickly wrap it up without a lot of fanfare.
As Hector, Martina and Leire begin to peel back the façade of the public faces of those connected to the two cases, there is a private world of deceit, betrayals and secrets held close to the chest and makes for intriguing plot twists. What I enjoyed most is while this very able police team gets to the truth of the crimes, is we are also learning more about their compelling back stories and their own personal dilemmas and demons. The cases are satisfactorily wrapped up and the author has adequately tantalized me to be invested in knowing how the personal issues will be resolved. And I must say that the last chapter is a pure teaser setting me up for the next book in the series.
The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill is a gripping murder with compelling characters set in sultry Barcelona. Recommend to mystery readers looking for a noirish style series.
This book was provided by Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest view. ( )
  bookmuse56 | Aug 11, 2014 |
The Summer of Dead Toys, Antonio Hill
Broadway Books
978-0-7704-3589-9
$15, 362 pgs

“No one has ever been killed out of love; that’s a fallacy from tango.” - Héctor Salgado

This story grabs you on page one and refuses to relinquish its grip. From the first page: “It’s been a long time since I thought of Iris or the summer she died. I suppose I tried to forget it all, in the same way I overcame nightmares and childhood fears. … I’m six years old, I’m at camp and I can’t sleep because I’m scared. No, I lie. That very early morning I behaved like a brave boy. I disobeyed my uncle’s rules and faced the darkness just to see Iris. But I found her drowned, floating in the pool, surrounded by a cortège of dead dolls.” Yeah, try to shake that image. Good luck to you.

Today I am genuinely excited to introduce y’all to a major new talent in the American literary market. The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill, translated from the Spanish by LauraMcGloughlin, is the American debut of a bestselling thriller from Spain. Inspector Héctor Salgado, Argentine by birth, is a veteran of the Mossos, Barcelona’s police force. An intelligent man with a dry wit, he carries a sense of melancholy and bewilderment – his wife Ruth has left him for another woman and taken their son Guillermo with her, though they have maintained goodwill, even love, for each other. Salgado has been on leave from the force due to a rare violent incident in which a brutality complaint was lodged against him by a suspect in a Nigerian sex-trafficking ring. Hey – who can blame him? You handle the case of a particularly nasty suicide by one of the underage victims and then you can argue with the inspector.

Salgado’s first case when he returns appears at first cursory glance to be a simple matter of an accidental death: 19-year-old Marc Castells’ body was found on the paving stones below his attic window, where he’d been known to enjoy a last cigarette before bed, following a night of partying on the eve of San Juan. From the beginning something about this case tweaks Salgado’s radar and that was before everyone in Marc Castells’ orbit begins receiving mysterious emails from someone who signs his- or herself “alwaysiris.” In order to get to the truth of what happened to Marc Castells, Salgado will have to travel back in time to solve Iris’s death and sort fact from fiction, supposition, and prejudice involving issues of economic privilege, right-wing politics, the Catholic church, and a cult of personality inspired by a particularly charismatic classmate of the victim.

One of the many delights of The Summer of Dead Toys is the depth of its characters. Inspector Salgado is our main protagonist but the supporting characters are so well-developed that this is really an ensemble cast. Leire Castro, Salgado’s new partner, is particularly intriguing – young and new to the force, she is a thoroughly contemporary woman working in a hidebound, traditionally male career. In less-skillful hands Agent Castro might be a trope but Antonio Hill has breathed real life into her. Hill’s plotting is intricate but never convoluted, his pacing relentless, the clues expertly and precisely placed. And you know how the inevitable subplot is so often a trifle, a mere distraction, but somehow assumed to be necessary? Not so here. The subplot here is necessary.

Go immediately to your local indie bookshop and start reading The Summer of Dead Toys today. Why? Because the sequel, The Good Suicides, was released in June AND I’ve got it right here in my hot little hands. I know! I was delighted, when I liked this one so much, to know that I didn’t have to wait to dive back into Salgado’s Barcelona and hang out with Agent Castro again. By the time you finish the first installment, I’ll have the review for the sequel ready for you. Look for the review of The Good Suicides in a few days right here! ( )
  TexasBookLover | Jul 5, 2014 |
There were things I both enjoyed and disliked about this book. One of the things I disliked was that there were so many perspectives in this novel. We learned the details of the story from so many points of view that it was quite confusing. Also, there were way too many characters with very similar names. It was really hard to keep track of all the characters and their roles in the story.

However the plot itself was multi-layered and unique. I enjoyed the story and I didn't see the end coming which is always a nice surprise in mystery novels.

Another thing I disliked was the cliffhanger at the end. I understand that it leaves room open for the sequel, but it came out of left field and was a really random twist.

The book wasn't perfect, but for a first novel it wasn't bad. I think Antonio Hill will get better as he continues to write and with fewer characters, the narrative will flow better and be easier to understand. I hold out hope for him. ( )
  jadestar31 | Dec 4, 2013 |
Disclosure: I received an e-galley from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Summer of Dead Toys is one of my favorite reads of the year, and it’s definitely my favorite debut novel of the year. It has an interesting protagonist, Héctor Salgado who sounds like a typical divorced detective with anger management issues, but Hill turns him into a much more rounded character than that. It has other interesting police characters, and it has a morally complex set of crimes to unravel.

The Summer of Dead Toys takes place in Barcelona during a very hot summer. Our main character is Inspector Salgado, a native Argentinian, who returns to Barcelona at the beginning of the novel after a month of leave after he beat Dr. Omar, a suspected human trafficker, quite viciously. He is put in charge of an unofficial investigation into the suicide of Marc Castells, a young man who is the son wealthy man who’s considering moving from the private sector into politics.

Why am I so impressed? Hill handles two plots in great detail: the case of Marc Castells and the case of Dr.Omar. Hill spends plenty of time with his characters, including the police officers, to actually give them backstories instead of just doling out a few details in this book before doling out more in subsequent ones. I’m also grateful that he spent time with not only Salgado but also his new partner Leire Castro and his superiors. Too often the focus in a police procedural is on the main investigator.

The pacing felt a bit sluggish to me in the first half, and I think that reflects the morass of the investigation in the first half of it. It could also be because the characters are pretty rich, self-absorbed people.

Another highlight was how horrid the crimes were that were uncovered during the course of the book. Sometimes the horror of murder and more take a back seat to the main characters heroics. I also liked the fact that there wasn’t a violent showdown at the end of the book, which I think is an overused plot device. I’m very much looking forward to the next book in the series, The Good Suicides.
  rkreish | Jun 19, 2013 |
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Ik heb al lang niet meer aan Iris gedacht en al evenmin aan de zomer waarin ze stierf.
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Inspector Hector Salgado is a transplanted Argentine living in Barcelona. While working on human trafficking case, Salgado's violent temper got the best of him and he beat a suspect within an inch of his life. Ordered on probation, he fled to Argentina to cool off for a few months. Now he's back, eager for another big case, but his boss assigns him to a routine accidental death in one of Barcelona's ritzier neighborhoods. Hector begins to follow a trail that will lead him deep into the underbelly of Barcelona's high society, where he'll come face-to-face with dangerous criminals, long-buried secrets, and, of course, his own past.--From publisher description.… (more)

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