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A Window in Copacabana by L. A. García-Roza
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A Window in Copacabana (2001)

by L. A. García-Roza

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The fourth--and in my opinion, the best to date--of the Inspector Espinosa of the Rio de Janeiro police series.

A series of murders occurs that are linked to corruption in the Rio police. But that's about the only thing that is clear throughout most of the book. Espinosa manages to get himself involved one way or another with two women who are closely associated with the murders. The pace is fast, the writing excellent. For much of the book, little more is understood; nothing becomes really clear until the last few pages.

An excellent book that utilizes the notorious corruption of the poorly trained, poorly paid Rio police as a background for an exciting, intriguing mystery. Rio--Copacabana. Leme, and Peixote areas--returns as a major supporting member of the cast. ( )
  Joycepa | May 7, 2007 |
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At the end of the afternoon, the big digital clock on the corner announced that it was one hundred degrees.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 031242566X, Paperback)

Cop killings never fail to excite interest--especially when, as in A Window in Copacabana, Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza's fourth slow-burning police procedural (after Southwesterly Wind), those murders are committed methodically and surgically, with "no passion, revenge, emotion: cold as ice." As Espinosa, the uncommonly thoughtful chief of Rio de Janeiro's 12th Precinct, postulates, "Whoever killed them was hired by someone. And furthermore, the real criminal is trying to send a message to other potential victims, a message that only they can understand."

It hardly matters that the three deceased officers weren't popular, or even well known. ("They're all cops who never stood out, who lived hidden lives, and who were as invisible and silent as their deaths.") The fact that each succumbed to "a single point-blank shot," coupled with suspicions that their slayings were somehow connected--by drug dealing, perhaps, or a bribery scheme--makes capturing their assassin crucial, not only to civic peacekeeping but to departmental morale. The stakes increase when those cops' mistresses start dropping violently, as well. Someone, it appears, wants to keep a tight lid on information that was shared between the policemen and their paramours. But who? And what, if anything, can be concluded from the subsequent, supposed suicide leap of a woman who was evidently mistaken by the killer for one of the cops' lovers? As Espinosa wades into the morass of avarice and secrecy at the core of this case, and begins to shed his preconceptions about the crimes, he's also distracted by a pair of young lovelies--one, the wife of a high-ranking government economist, obsessed with that dubious suicide; the other, a smart and resourceful ex-cabaret dancer on the run--whose attentions may do as much to foil his investigation as warm his heart.

Brazilian Garcia-Roza is a patient plotter, exposing each new development with the deceptive indifference of an exotic dancer shedding veils, knowing just how to build and maintain anticipation. And in Espinosa he has found his ideal partner in crime, a clever, compassionate, and oddly bookish, 40-something cop reconciled to the manifold disappointments of life and serene in the face of human tragedy. Although this author denies his cops, other than Espinosa, much depth of personality, A Window in Copacabana's Hitchcockian twists, sensual atmosphere, and unwillingness to deliver clichéd "perfect" justice in the end all make it an excellent entry in one of the coolest, most captivating crime series going. --J. Kingston Pierce

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:56 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. Three policemen have been killed over the course of a few days. They were mediocre cops, and their deaths have a lot in common: they were eliminated by a cold-blooded assassin, who leaves no traces and likes to fire at point-blank range." "Immediately, the police world is thrown into turmoil. Who would risk running around the city killing cops, even unpopular ones? People involved in drug trafficking? Other policemen? Espinosa, chief of the 12th Precinct, doesn't have much to go on. And when the body of a woman connected to one of the dead cops is found on the sidewalk below her apartment window, things get even more complicated, as a reputed "witness" - the wife of a high-ranking government official - becomes obsessed with the case, and with Espinosa." "Nothing is quite as it appears, as Espinosa finds himself in his old haunts of Leme and Copacabana, and in the murky terrain of corruption, secret lives, greed, and fear."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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