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Blackout: An Inspector Espinosa Mystery…
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Blackout: An Inspector Espinosa Mystery (Inspector Espinosa Mysteries) (edition 2009)

by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza

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Member:patrickgarson
Title:Blackout: An Inspector Espinosa Mystery (Inspector Espinosa Mysteries)
Authors:Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza
Info:Picador (2009), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
Tags:crime, southamerican

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Blackout by L. A. García-Roza

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The first murder, that of a one-legged apparently homeless man, intrigues Detective Espinosa because it takes place in a district he knows well, close to where he grew up. The main suspects are two men who are collecting their parked cars in heavy rain after a dinner party. Espinosa prefers one over the other as a suspect but for a long time the case goes nowhere. Much of the investigation relates to how the victim got to the site of the murder, which is at the top of a very steep hill, and why he was there.

During part 2 of the story Espinosa and his team carry out a constant investigation of his preferred suspect, turning up at his place of work to check minor details of his story, or talking to his wife. We see most of the story through the eyes of this suspect, raising the question of how reliable a witness he really is. He claims to his wife that there are large parts of the evening that he doesn't remember. Espinosa ramps up the psychological pressure.

In places the author's style reminds me of Simenon and that is probably why I liked it so much.

Some readers will find the story's climax a bit too open-ended and inconclusive. ( )
  smik | Aug 28, 2013 |
Solid police detective mystery set in Rio. It's the sixth in the series and my guess is that a) Rio is one of the most compelling features of these novels, and b) this feature is more prominent in earlier novels. ( )
  ehines | Mar 24, 2013 |
This Brazilian mystery possesses a kind of frothy, Latino elan, but unfortunately that seems to be all there is. The book doesn't really function as mystery, per se, and it's slim charms don't offer enough to compensate.

Inspector Espinosa is called to a childhood haunt when a beggar turns up shot. But why would someone murder a man who has nothing, and what does one of the key witnesses - a neurotic interior designer - have to do with it?

Blackout's central mystery is at times predictable, illogical, and unguessable. The novel is more of a police procedural, but Espinosa's peregrinations lack much procedure. This gives the novel a kind of loping, episodic, almost pre-destined feel. This is not helped by the somewhat irrational and/or thin characters.

This is not to say the characters aren't enjoyable. They are all stereotypically (perplexingly!), sexy. Everyone seems to be good-looking, sleeping with someone with one eye on someone else. There's an undercurrent running through Blackout, a kind of unceasing murmur like a batucada - "It's so hot, the day is so beautiful, why worry? Let's make love!" It's certainly a change from the average police procedural, and it is winsome, in its own way.

But it's also kind of frustrating as the novel collapses wholly into silliness in the home stretch. You can't hate it too much for this; it's so light and trivial that a grudge seems needlessly stern, but at the same time there's not really a compelling reason to read any more. ( )
  patrickgarson | Nov 28, 2012 |
6th in the Inspector Espinosa from Rio de Janeiro series.

An apparently homeless, one-legged beggar is efficiently (one shot to the heart) murdered in an affluent neighborhood in Rio’s 12th District in Copacabana, home to Chief Inspector Espinosa. The killing makes no sense. It was clearly not drug-related, and it is impossible to see the murder as a self-defense against an obviously harmless beggar. Everything about the case is baffling, including the lack of anyone who knew the victim and the total lack of witnesses, even though two men from a dinner party in a house close to where the crime was committed claim to have seen nothing.

Thus begins the latest in Garcia-Roza’s superb series. The protagonist, Inspector Espinosa, is not your standard hard-boiled detective; unusual for a Brasilian, he is bookish, as well as being somewhat dreamy, eccentric (not unusual in a Brasilian!). The writing and, importantly, the translation are excellent; the plot is taut and unpredictable. The characters are real and their environment--the Copacabana district--is vibrantly alive. I have spent a great deal of time in Brasil but have never visited Rio. Until I started reading this series, I never wanted to, either. But Garcia-Roza paints a picture of a real neighborhood with interesting people—not the Copacabana of tourists, but the one of cariocas, as the residents of Rio are known.

So far, Garcia-Roza does not seem to write to a formula. All of his books have been different. Certainly this book is vastly different from his previous, mind-bending thriller, Pursuit. But, as with all the others, Blackout is a real page-turner, as the tension and surprises mount to an excellent denouement.

Highly recommended. ( )
  Joycepa | Sep 15, 2008 |
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It was early afternoon, the hottest hour of the day, when the water in the faucet was warm, the asphalt on the streets sizzling, and the cloudless sky unperturbed by the slightest breeze.
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Original title: Espinosa sem saida
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Book description
With no witnesses and no weapon, it seems like the case of the one-legged homeless man found lying in a cul-de-sac on São João Hill, shot through the heart, will remain unsolved. But Chief Inspector Espinosa can’t shake thoughts of the hapless victim—who would target a penniless man who posed no physical threat? Focusing his incisive mind and characteristically unhurried inquiry on a group of affluent guests who dined at a nearby mansion on the stormy night of the murder, Espinosa carefully interrogates his way into the lives of his suspects, exposing lies, cover-ups—and further mysteries.

When the body of a prominent young urbanite is discovered in a scandalous state of undress, Espinosa must find the unlikely connections between two murders with no apparent witnesses or motive. Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza turns up the heat in this novel, supplementing his seductive prose with psychological twists and steamy secrets that lead to the unexpected climax.
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"With no witnesses and no weapon, it seems like the case of the one-legged homeless man found lying in a cul-de-sac on Sao Joao Hill, shot through the heart, will remain unsolved. But Chief Inspector Espinosa can't shake thoughts of the hapless victim - who would target a penniless man who posed no physical threat? Focusing his incisive mind and characteristically unhurried inquiry on a group of affluent guests who dined at a nearby mansion on the stormy night of the murder, Espinosa carefully interrogates his way into the lives of his suspects, exposing lies, cover-ups - and further mysteries." "When the body of a prominent young urbanite is discovered in a scandalous state of undress, Espinosa must find the unlikely connections between two murders with no apparent witnesses or motive. Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza turns up the heat in this novel, supplementing his seductive prose with psychological twists and steamy secrets that lead to the unexpected climax."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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