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Alone in the Crowd by L. A. García-Roza
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Good, but not quite as good as the earlier ones - the story seemed a little bit muddled ( )
  fordbarbara | Nov 19, 2009 |
7th in the Chief Espinosa of the 12th Precinct in Rio de Janeiro series.

7th in the Chief Espinosa of the 12th Precinct in Rio de Janeiro series.

Garcia-Roza doesn’t just write outstanding police procedurals--most of his books are great psychological thrillers as well; in fact, I’m not aware of any other writer in the genre who combines the two aspects so well and so unusually. This one is no exception. An old woman dies a puzzling death that may or may not be an accident; the chief suspect is somehow vaguely related to other deaths that might or might not have been accidents. All this might or might not be coincidence. And yes, that’s the whole tenor of the book as Espinosa and his chief helpers, Inspector Ramiro and Detective Welber dig deeper and deeper into the past of Hugo Breno, a colorless bank teller. Soon, parts of Espinosa’s past infringe upon the present and he is hard put to tell if any of it is relevant or if he is fabricating a tale out of whole cloth.

Add to that a crisis with his lover of 10 years, and you have the usual intriguing, textured mystery that Garcia-Roza writes so well.

Normally, Rio--specifically the Copacabana and Peixoto districts--contribute quite a bit to the ambience of the novels, but not so much in this book. Although I have visited Brasil many times and have spent a good deal of time there, I have never been to Rio. To compensate for that this time, since so much of the action takes place in the Peixoto district where Espinosa lives, I went to Google maps and followed Espinosa and Breno around; I most likely pinpointed the three-story building where Espinosa lives! That little vicarious jaunt added a good deal to the enjoyment of the read.

An excellent addition to the series. Highly recommended for those who like their police procedurals off the beaten track. ( )
1 vote Joycepa | Aug 13, 2009 |
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With one hand, the woman pressed her purse to her chest, while with the other she clasped a scrap of paper that she glanced at repeatedly.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805079599, Hardcover)

Inspector Espinosa unwittingly ignites the obsessions of a menacing misanthrope in the latest from the highly acclaimed mystery author

An elderly lady approaches the front desk at the Twelfth Precinct in Copacabana and demands to speak with the chief. Tired after a long day, she leaves without further explanation, promising to return. Two hours later, Doña Laureta is dead, and witnesses’ accounts vary as to whether she was pushed or fell in front of the bus that killed her on one of the busiest avenues in the city.

Veteran police chief inspector Espinosa quickly pinpoints a suspect in Hugo Breno, an unassuming bank teller whose solitary existence takes on a sinister cast as he shadows the inspector’s movements across the city. Meanwhile Espinosa discovers an unsettling connection from the past between himself and Breno, and must turn his trademark psychological inquiry inward to determine how murky memories of a murder from long ago might play into Doña Laureta’s untimely passing. Chilling and ultimately heart-stopping, Alone in the Crowd presents Espinosa as we have never seen him before, the man of detached expertise and calm self-assurance entangled in a mystery where reason alone will not suffice.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:01 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After leaving the precinct in Copacabana without speaking to the chief, Dona Laureta is killed when she is hit by a bus two hours later, leading veteran police chief inspector Espinosa to investigate the strange accident and the woman's personal connection to a new suspect involved in an old murder.… (more)

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