The Blind Man of Seville
Robert Wilson, Harper Collins
Those paying attention to events at the literary end of crime fiction will know Wilson as the author of six previous thrillers, all of them stylish and enhanced by exotic locations. The first four were magical, enthralling works of detective noir set in west Africa. The next, a darkly mysterious World War II puzzler, ‘A Small Death in Lisbon’, was the deserved winner of Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for best crime novel of 1999. Its follow-up ‘The Company of Strangers’, saw Wilson knocking at the door of bestsellerdom.
This startling new novel follows Wilson’s general trend towards darker, more disturbing fiction, and introduces a complex new character: homicide detective Javier Falcon of the Seville police. It is a book that exists on multiple levels, kicking off as an off-key detective story and ending up as (amongst other things) a tense psychological thriller and a literary investigation into perception and family loyalties.
The revelry of Semana Santa (Holy Week) is interrupted by the bizarre murder of a leading restaurateur, whose body is found, bound and gagged, in front of a TV screen. To force him to watch the images, the killer had surgically removed Raúl Jiminéz’s eyelids. Although Falcon’s perceived coldness earned him the nickname ‘The Lizard’, he is uncharacteristically shocked by the killing and drawn into discovering details of the dead man’s life. As he digs, Falcon discovers to his horror that his famous dead artist father was involved in the background to the mystery, and maybe more. A wonderful, if essentially dark and disturbing, literary detective novel. Martin Radcliffe
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