Slightly delayed this week because I wanted to post about my reactions to finishing the Millennium trilogy is this week's contribution to the Crime Fiction Alphabet meme at Kerrie's Mysteries in Paradise.
G is for Gage. Leighton Gage.
I first met Leighton Gage, another of crime fiction's many nice guys, on line and then in person at Crime Fest 2009 in Bristol. He writes the thrilling Chief Inspector Mario Silva Investigation series set in Brazil, where he and his charming Brazilian born wife Eide, live most of the year.
He also has a new joint blog Murder is Everywhere with Cara Black, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip [Michael Stanley], and Dan Waddell.
Leighton does not have to worry about the anomaly that affects crime writers in Sweden and Iceland. The conundrum in which there are many more fictional murders than ever occur in real life does not have an influence on a Brazilian set crime fiction series. I think Sao Paulo's murder investigation department has over 800 police officers and is still understaffed. But Mario Silva is a Federal cop which allows him to travel all over that huge country, and that provides Leighton with plenty of scope for his plots.
One of the most important facts I learned from the Mario Silva series and from interviewing Leighton is that Brazil is not a poor country.
It is a very rich country with a lot of very very poor people living in it.
Luckily I have a advanced review copy of the third book in the series, Dying Gasp, which has a pretty sensational opening chapter. More on that next month.
The Mario Silva series has not only some memorable characters, but also the quality of writing that makes you smell tension, fear and even cigar smoke, in the air.
I should say that although the books are about violence, corruption, poverty and social divisions, they are not gratuitously violent.
The reader also learns a lot about a country that will probably be one of the powerhouses of the century. But Brazilian police methods in their search for justice in very difficult circumstances are sometimes slightly different from those adopted in the UK, USA, Canada or Australia.
Booklist said '...Silva just may be South America's Kurt Wallander.'
A more cheerful Latin Wallander, and well worth reading about.