Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Dom Felipe Antunes, the Bishop of Presidente Vargas, comes to the remote Brazilian town of Cascatas do Pontal to consecrate a new church and is assassinated. When the Pope personally telephones Brazil's president about this outrage Mario Silva, Chief Inspector for Criminal Matters of the Federal Police of Brazil is sent by Nelson Sampaio, the Director of Brazil's Federal Police, to investigate.
Silva assisted by his nephew Hecto Costa, also a Federal cop, and the experienced Agente Arnaldo Nunes discovers that he must also deal with other murders.

'You mentioned Aurelio Azevedo. he was my friend, Chief Inspector. They nailed him to a tree. They shot his wife, Teresa. They even killed Paulo and Marcella, their two kids.' 

Silva and his small team are faced with an uncooperative state police, corrupt judges, ruthless rich landowners, the Landless Worker's League and a divided Church as he attempts stop the escalating violence. There are also  criminal elements preying on street kids and priests involved in 'liberation theology' to add to his problems.
Silva, whose own back story hides some dark secrets, has to face the harsh truth about justice in Brazil and the brutality goes on to its strangely satisfying climax.

'There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked'. Isaiah 48:22

Wicked: evil or morally wrong
Wicked: [informal] excellent or wonderful 
Oxford English Dictionary

Leighton Gage, whose wife is Brazilian and spends part of each  year in Santana do Parnaiba, has written a fast paced exciting political thriller. It is hard to believe that Blood of the Wicked is Leighton's first crime fiction book because it has all the smoothness of a Brazilian samba and is so well researched. 

Mario Silva, the main protagonist, is a rarity among Brazil's underpaid cops who sometimes moonlight as bank robbers, he is honest. But even Mario as we learn in the novel has to accept the limitations of Brazilian justice and has taken the law into his own hands on occasions. Middle class, trained by the FBI at Quantico, and with a social conscience Silva has to be pragmatic in a society where the rich have vast wealth, the poor have very little, and stopping at a red traffic light at night can mean disaster. 

I have always thought crime fiction a wonderful educational tool and Blood of the Wicked  is packed full of information about a country about which I knew relatively little. Thanks to Leighton Gage I now know a lot more about this very rich country that just happens to have a lot of very poor people living in it. 

This is a book with a lot of terrible violence and the excellent writing  makes the action so vivid that one can smell the fear, the blood and the cigar smoke in the air.
I was left breathless by Blood of the Wicked and I am eagerly anticipating the next Mario Silva investigation Buried Strangers which will be published in January 2009.

Raymond Chandler in his essay The Simple Art of Murder said that 'realism takes too much talent.' 

With the stark realism of Blood of the Wicked  Leighton Gage has definitely shown he has that talent. In the next few months Crime Scraps hope to have an interview with Leighton and  a review of Buried Strangers.

'The upper-middle-class condominium called Jardin Jericoara  was less than ten kilometres from the favela of Consolacao, but in socioeconomic terms it was in another galaxy'. 


Blogger sue n said...


I am a fellow crime fiction enthusiast and involved in the European committee for Europolar. I wonder if you might consider putting a link to us on your website? We could do a piece on you some time and highlight your contribution to comment? web address is http://jl2i.com/europolar/



7:40 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Sue. I will check out your site in the next week but if you don't see a link appearing it is probably because of my technical incompetence and nothing else.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Sue, any website that has Camilleri and Manotti articles is fine with me and I seem to have managed to put two more links in the sidebar!

Your European Committee for Europolar website and Barbara Fister's excellent Scandinavian Crime Fiction blog.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Uriah-

I'm a big fan of Leighton Gage's Mario Silva series, too.

When I read his first book Blood of the Wicked I felt like you, it was hard for me to believe it was his first book.

I've also read Buried Strangers and Dying Gasp and just can't wait for more.

I've learned a lot about Brazil through Leighton and am amazed by the corruption, the only positive side to it is we'll have many Mario Silva books to read and look forward to.

Nice blog, I'll be checking it out often.

Thank you,

10:10 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Hi Susie

Leighton's books are such a smooth read and he has an easy style despite the content. I am also looking forward to reading Dying Gasp.

I think some European and North American countries have almost as much corruption as Brazil, but we don't have the police administering street justice, and the corruption is a little bit more subtle. For example the gross misuse of public funds by elected officials in the UK in claiming thousands of pounds of expenses for non existent mortgages.

Norm aka Uriah

10:31 AM  

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