THE WAYS OF EVIL MEN by Leighton Gage

Book Quote:

“When Raoni’s father was a boy, the tribe had numbered more than a hundred, but that was before a white man’s disease had reduced them by half.  In the years that followed, one girl after another had been born, but the girls didn’t stay; they married and moved on. It was the way of the Awana, the way of all the tribes. If the spirits saw fit to give them boys, the tribe grew; if girls, the tribe shrank. If it shrank too much, it died.
The Awana were doomed, they all knew it, but for the end to have come so suddenly was a horrible and unexpected blow.”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky (JAN 26, 2014)

Leighton Gage, who spent a great deal of his time in Brazil, used his extensive knowledge of the country’s political, economic, and social climate to create an outstanding series of police procedurals. His latest, The Ways of Evil Men, published posthumously, opens with a heartbreaking scene. Anati, a member of the Awana tribe who live in the rainforest, goes hunting with his eight-year-old son, Raoni. When the two return to their village they discover that all thirty-nine members of their tribe are dead. Who killed these men, women, and children? Jade Calmon, an employee of the federal government’s National Indian Foundation, will not stop asking questions until she learns the truth. Since the local law enforcement authorities have no love for the Awana, Jade is forced to pull strings in order to bring in the big guns: Mario Silva, Chief Inspector of the Brazilian Federal Police, Arnaldo Nunes, Silva’s partner, and a support team that includes other agents and an assistant medical examiner.

Why can’t the locals investigate this crime? The nearest town, Azevedo, is run by the Big Six, corrupt landowners (including the mayor) who have contempt for the Indians and covet their land. To insure that no one gets in their way, they have the parish priest, the head of the local police, and a so-called environmental watchdog on their payroll. Only incorruptible law enforcement professionals like Mario Silva can be trusted to apprehend the guilty parties. Silva travels to Azevedo, where he and his colleagues interview Osvaldo Neto and his wife, Amanda, the owners of the town’s only bar, restaurant, and hotel. Osvaldo is part Indian and has disdain for the bigots, liars, thieves, adulterers, and murderers who patronize his establishment. Fortunately, Silva is a tenacious detective who relishes a challenge. He will need to be clever, devious, and lucky to solve what will turn out to be a complex and ugly case.

The Ways of Evil Men is a hard-hitting and engrossing novel that lives up to its title. The villains (both male and female) are utterly vile. They frame the innocent, bribe people to turn a blind eye to their transgressions, and enrich themselves through legal and illegal means. Another person who takes an interest in these outrageous goings-on ia a fearless female reporter named Maura Mandel; she risks her life, expecting to make headlines with what she hopes will be a sensational story. This is a compelling, gritty, and atmospheric tale with lively descriptive writing, dark humor, and sharply-crafted dialogue. Readers will admire Silva and his associates, who are determined to prove that no one–no matter how wealthy, influential, and arrogant–is above the law.

Those of us who admire Leighton Gage’s talent, creativity, and integrity will miss him greatly.

AMAZON READER RATING: from 13 readers
PUBLISHER: Soho Crime (January 21, 2014)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
EXTRAS: Excerpt
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January 26, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Brazil, Latin American/Caribbean, Sleuths Series, World Lit

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