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Southwesterly Wind (1999)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 031242454X, Paperback)So palpable is the role of loneliness in Southwesterly Wind, the third installment of Brazilian author Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza's seductive police-procedural series, that it almost deserves a separate listing among the cast. Nobody here escapes its casual ravages. Certainly not Gabriel, a 29-year-old office drone in Rio de Janeiro who still lives with his religious-fanatic mother, fears intimate association with younger women, and might well have remained a societal cipher had he not been the recipient of a most dubious prediction: "A psychic saw that I would commit a murder before my next birthday. There's less than two months to go," he explains to Sergeant Espinosa of the Copacabana precinct. It would of course be absurd to launch an investigation into a slaying that hasn't occurred yet to a victim who isn't known. However, the compassionate Espinosa at least puts a police tail on the would-be killer, and he interviews one of his fellow workers, Olga Marins, who witnessed the misfortune-telling and looks increasingly to Gabriel as the remedy for her own solitude. Espinosa even tracks down the psychic reader responsible for setting these events in motion--an economist-turned-entertainer who's oblivious to the damage his auguries might cause a troubled mind. With Gabriel's birthday fast approaching, and people perishing around this paranoid and soon-to-be armed young man, it falls to Espinosa to identify the real murderer and discover the startling truth behind Gabriel's "craziness."
As he did in The Silence of the Rain and December Heat, the divorced and bookish Espinosa acts in this tale greatly from instinct and emotion, his heart keenly on view as he pursues a winsome but elusive girlfriend of Olga's and indulges a precocious teenage neighbor who thinks him in desperate need of canine companionship. Garcia-Roza glosses over the violence for which Rio's cops are known, preferring a more romantic conception of Espinosa and his colleagues that allows the author to focus on the psychology of his inexpert criminals. With its lucid prose and loving portrayal of Brazil's largest city, Southwesterly Wind is crime fiction for the connoisseur--as thoughtful as it is thrilling, and displaying more intriguing loose ends than the thongs of Ipanema. --J. Kingston Pierce
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:32 -0400)
"Chief of the Copacabana precinct Espinosa is more than happy to interrupt his paperwork when a terrified young man arrives at the station with a bizarre story. A psychic has predicted that he would commit a murder, it seems, and the prediction has become fact in the young man's mind. It's a case more appropriate for a psychiatrist or philosopher, but, rising to the challenge, Espinosa slowly enters the web of a psychologically conflicted man." "As the weather shifts and the southwesterly wind - always a sign of dramatic change - starts up, what at first seems like paranoia becomes brutal reality. Two violent murders occur, and their only link is the lonely, clever man who had sought Espinosa out a few days earlier for help."--BOOK JACKET.
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