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Perfect Hatred by Leighton Gage

Perfect Hatred

by Leighton Gage

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My foray into Brazilian police procedurals was rewarding indeed.

A terrorist kills a woman using her baby and carriage to hide a bomb which he detonates just as a policeman is about to inquire as to the baby's lack of response. Some 350 miles south, a popular candidate for political office is assassinated.

Chief Inspector Mario Silva, of the Federal Police, immediately takes charge of the investigation. Fortunately, the bomb, which had been placed under the child, had contained numerous shards of hardware and a washer had gone through the child, slowing its trajectory enough so it bent part of the carriage frame. That meant there would be some of the child's DNA available for identification. (As an aside, I had no idea there was such a thing as "post-detonation taggants." They are bomb-proof, unique particles that are added to explosives so that they can be traced back to sellers and places of origin. Interesting.

Politics being what it is in Brasilia, when the politician, a relative unknown, is assassinated, Silva must focus his efforts on that case rather than the sixty plus people who had been killed in the bombing. It soon becomes complicated, as good mysteries must, and we learn the assassinated politician, Plinio, a revered man, had several enemies, many of whom were not immediately obvious.

Lots of interesting information about Brazil and its relationships with other countries, particularly Paraguay (and most of that not complimentary.) Little snippets of historical information that some readers may find unnecessary but which I always find fascinating, e.g., re Lebanon, "Each new outbreak of violence plunged the country deeper into chaos and caused more of her children to seek new homes abroad. Many chose Brazil. By the beginning of the 1990s, there were, it was said with some justification, more Lebanese in São Paulo than in Beirut. But, before the refugees, before the great torrent of immigration began, there were a few young Lebanese upon whom Brazil exerted its attraction, not as a refuge, but as a land of limitless opportunity."

Silva finds himself under personal attack in the form of an irate land owner who wants to kill him, in addition to his battle with pervasive corruption intertwined with an increasingly dangerous radical Islamic group

A solid read.

Thanks to the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my always uninfluenced review. I never review books I don't like. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Reviewed for Reviewing the Evidence. This is a good entry in the series, with a particularly interesting look a the Tri-Border Area (where Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil come together).
  bfister | Mar 31, 2013 |
First Line: The action began auspiciously.

The old adage "it never rains but it pours" has never been truer for Chief Inspector Mario Silva and his team. A suicide bombing which is the apparent work of militant Islamists has killed over sixty people, but the assassination of a gubernatorial candidate during a campaign rally has Silva's superiors screaming. Told to focus on the assassination, Silva doesn't. He divides his team so both cases are being worked simultaneously. He refuses to ignore the slaughter of innocents. After all-- he's been on the job long enough to know how to work around the men in higher positions.

An assassin, terrorists, tracking down explosives in Paraguay... that would be enough for anyone to handle, but there's something that Silva isn't aware of: a criminal who's just been released from prison has vowed to kill him, and he's going to do his best to get the job done.

If you want to read crime fiction set in present-day Brazil, the very first author whose books you need to get your hands on is Leighton Gage. He gives us a clear-eyed look into a system filled with corruption and bribery, but Gage also shows us that there is justice to be had. How? Through the character of Chief Inspector Mario Silva. As Silva tells someone:

"Senhora, I've been in the service of a corrupt legal system for all of my working life. I'm nothing if not a pragmatist."

"That's what Luis said. That's why I'm telling you all this."

"But I'm also an idealist. And any evil I do, I attempt to do for the greater good."

For every corrupt politician, for every bribe-taking police officer, for every barbaric person of undeserved privilege, Leighton Gage shows us that there are those who are brave enough to tell the truth and to insist upon justice for all. Chief Inspector Mario Silva and his team are among those who persist in fighting for what's right-- and one of the ways they do it is to band together as a family, to know each other's strengths and weaknesses, to make bad jokes amongst themselves to lighten tense situations. This team is one that you grow to care deeply about, and the subplot involving the criminal planning Silva's death can make your blood run cold.

All three subplots-- bombing, assassination, threat on Silva's life-- are engrossing, and watching each come to its conclusion is a pleasure. Whenever I learn that Leighton Gage has a new book coming out, I smile. I know I will be whisked off to a distant land filled with excitement, outrage, and danger, but a land where I will also be among my fictional friends. I know I said earlier that you should read these books if you want to read about present-day Brazil-- and you should-- but you should really read them if you like crime fiction writing at its best. ( )
  cathyskye | Feb 20, 2013 |
First up, let me point out that I have reviewed an ARC of this book courtesy of the author but that it is now available for pre-order from Amazon. Publication date is Feb 19, 2013.

While I pointed out in my recent review of ALL YOURS by Claudia Pineiro that I felt I hadn't really learnt a lot about life in Argentina, the same cannot be said of PERFECT HATRED which is set mainly in Brazil. The author's awareness of politics and corruption, and the recent appearance of terrorism and jihad in Brazil all come through loud and clear, and the events and themes of PERFECT HATRED are set against that background.

“Just politics and favoritism is an understatement,” Arnaldo said, standing up. “In case you guys never noticed, politics and favoritism is what Brasilia is all about.”

The book begins with a bomb blast in Sao Paulo. A Muslim extremist detonates a bomb hidden in a baby carriage outside the American Consulate.

350 km to the south in Curitiba, Plinio Saldana, apparently squeaky clean, looks like a golden hope for the governorship of the state of Parana. When he is elected, it will signal the end of corruption and nepotism, and his election looks a cert:

The turnout that day was unprecedented. People had flocked into the city from all over the state. The Civil Police later estimated the size of the crowd to have been somewhere between 250 and 300 thousand—the largest ever to witness the assassination of a Brazilian politician

Seemingly without a qualm his wife Stella steps up as the new candidate, while Mario Silva and his team of federal cops try to work out how and why Plinio could have been assassinated by one of his own team.

Are the two events connected or are they both just signs of political disaffection in Brazil?

A third story joins the plot when wealthy gangster Muniz tries to ensure that he will not go to jail for crimes he has committed by arranging the assassination of both the public prosecutor responsible for the case against him, and the federal cop, Mario Silva, who saw him gun down an unarmed, penniless priest.

PERFECT HATRED is #6 in Gage's Mario Silva series. Do I have to read them in order I hear you ask? Well, I'd recommend that strategy although I realised today that I haven't read them all.

PERFECT HATRED is an excellent read. Be sure to order your copy. ( )
  smik | Nov 22, 2012 |
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"Chief Inspector Mario Silva and his team have a heavy work load with several high-profile cases. First, a suicide bombing that was apparently the work of a militant Islamist group. Then, a gubernatorial candidate is assassinated in broad daylight at a campaign rally. Could the cases be related? To complicate Silva's investigation, a criminal with a very bad grudge against the Chief Inspector has been released from prison and is plotting ugly revenge"--… (more)

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