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Blood of the Wicked

Cover of Blood of the Wicked

Blood of the Wicked

Chief Inspector Mario Silva Series, Book 1
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"Blood of the Wicked manages to pack a huge amount into a spare three hundred pages; power politics, petty violence, sexual scandal, saintly courage, staggering poverty and obscene wealth. A book that makes you care about its large cast of characters, even when you know that they are going to die--frequently horribly. This is a novel as rich and complex as Brazil itself, with villains who make you want to spit, and heroes whose goodness is heartbreaking."--Rebecca Pawel, Edgar Award-winning author of Death of a Nationalist

In the remote Brazilian town of Cascatas do Pontal, where landless peasants are confronting the owners of vast estates, the bishop arrives by helicopter to consecrate a new church and is assassinated.

Mario Silva, chief inspector for criminal matters of the federal police of Brazil, is dispatched to the interior to find the killer. The pope himself has called Brazil's president; the pressure is on Silva to perform. Assisted by his nephew, Hector Costa, also a federal policeman, Silva must battle the state police and a corrupt judiciary as well as criminals who prey on street kids, the warring factions of the Landless League, the big landowners, and the church itself, in order to solve the initial murder and several brutal killings that follow. Justice is hard to come by. An old priest, a secret liberation theologist, finally metes it out. Here is a Brazil that tourists never encounter.

Leighton Gage is married to a Brazilian woman and spends part of each year in Santana do Parnaiba, Brazil, and the rest of the year in Florida and Belgium. This is his first novel.

From the Hardcover edition.

"Blood of the Wicked manages to pack a huge amount into a spare three hundred pages; power politics, petty violence, sexual scandal, saintly courage, staggering poverty and obscene wealth. A book that makes you care about its large cast of characters, even when you know that they are going to die--frequently horribly. This is a novel as rich and complex as Brazil itself, with villains who make you want to spit, and heroes whose goodness is heartbreaking."--Rebecca Pawel, Edgar Award-winning author of Death of a Nationalist

In the remote Brazilian town of Cascatas do Pontal, where landless peasants are confronting the owners of vast estates, the bishop arrives by helicopter to consecrate a new church and is assassinated.

Mario Silva, chief inspector for criminal matters of the federal police of Brazil, is dispatched to the interior to find the killer. The pope himself has called Brazil's president; the pressure is on Silva to perform. Assisted by his nephew, Hector Costa, also a federal policeman, Silva must battle the state police and a corrupt judiciary as well as criminals who prey on street kids, the warring factions of the Landless League, the big landowners, and the church itself, in order to solve the initial murder and several brutal killings that follow. Justice is hard to come by. An old priest, a secret liberation theologist, finally metes it out. Here is a Brazil that tourists never encounter.

Leighton Gage is married to a Brazilian woman and spends part of each year in Santana do Parnaiba, Brazil, and the rest of the year in Florida and Belgium. This is his first novel.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One


    SOMETHING TOOK THE HELICOPTER and shook it like
    a jackal worrying a carcass. The bishop gripped the aluminum
    supports on either side of his seat and hung on for dear life.
    "Clear air turbulence," the pilot observed laconically, and
    resumed chewing his gum.
    "Merda!" the bishop muttered. He regretted the vulgarity
    as soon as he'd said it.
    "What's that, Your Excellency?"
    The bishop's eyes darted to his right. In his fear and discomfort,
    he'd forgotten the microphones, forgotten the
    headphones, forgotten that the man could hear every word
    he said.
    And what if he had? Was it not true? Was the helicopter not a
    merda, a great stinking, steaming merda? And who was the pilot,
    anyway? What had he ever done in his blessed life other than to
    learn how to fly the merda? How dare he criticize a man who might,
    God willing, be a future prince of the Church?
    The pilot, whose name was Julio, and who wasn't criticizing
    anyone, had been distracted by a flock of vultures wheeling
    in graceful curves over the approaching river. He honestly
    hadn't heard what the bishop had said. He opened his mouth
    to repeat the question, then shut it again when he saw the
    cleric's mouth set into a thin line.
    Julio had a paunch, sweat stains under the arms of his
    khaki shirt, and a habit of chewing gum with his mouth open,
    all of which Dom Felipe Antunes, the Bishop of Presidente
    Vargas, found distasteful. But it was nothing in comparison
    to Dom Felipe's distaste for the helicopter.
    The bishop glanced at his watch, wiped his sweaty palms
    on his silk cassock, and resumed a death grip on the aluminum
    supports.
    Forty-seven blessed minutes in the air. Forty-seven minutes.
    "It won't be long now, Your Excellency."
    Was that amusement in the man's voice? Was he enjoying himself?
    Did he think fear was funny?
    On the floor beneath Dom Felipe's feet there was a thin (he
    was sure it was thin) window of Plexiglas. He tried to avoid
    looking down, but some perverse instinct kept drawing his
    eyes back to that dreadful hole in the floor. They were over the
    river now, sand bars protruding through chocolate-colored
    foam. The sand looked as hard as the rock-strewn banks.
    Do helicopters float?
    A rowboat drifted in mid-river, two fishermen aboard, a
    huge net piled high between them. They looked up at him,
    shielding their eyes against the morning sun. One waved.
    Reflexively, Dom Felipe waved back. Then a flash, like
    the strobe on a camera, caused him to snap his head upward
    and seek the source of the light.
    Far ahead of him, beyond the bug-flecked windshield, the
    flash came again. He squinted and . . . yes, there it was.
    Sunlight of an almost blinding intensity reflected off an
    expanse of glass. It couldn't be anything other than the
    Great Window. And that meant that the brand-new church
    of Nossa Senhora dos Milagres was in sight.
    The window was almost five meters in diameter and had
    come all the way from the Venetian island of Murano at a
    cost of almost 200,000 reais, not including the shipping,
    which, together with the insurance, had amounted to
    R$30,000 more. When the sun hit it just right--as it was
    doing now--the window would cast rays of glorious blue
    light all along the nave of the new church.
    Dom Felipe made a conscious effort to hold that image,
    focusing on the blue light, as if it were a meditation. But
    then the pitch of the engine changed, dragging him back
    into his dreadful reality.
    The...

About the Author-
  • Leighton Gage is the author of five novels in the Mario Silva series: Blood of the Wicked, Buried Strangers, Dying Gasp, Every Bitter Thing, and A Vine in the Blood. He spends part of each year in Santana do Parnaiba, Brazil, and divides the rest of the year between Florida and the Netherlands. He is married with four daughters.

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    Soho Press
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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