Alone in the Crowd
Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza
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Buy *Alone in the Crowd: An Inspector Espinosa Mystery* by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza online

Alone in the Crowd: An Inspector Espinosa Mystery
Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza
240 pages
May 2010
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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A thorough, deliberate investigator, Copacabana’s Inspector Espinosa lives within walking distance of his precinct, settled in the same neighborhood since childhood. Life is good, especially a long-term romance with Irene, a woman a few years younger than the inspector. When an elderly woman dies suspiciously after leaving the precinct with plans to retun later and speak to Espinosa, the inspector cannot but suspect the death of Dona Laureta was not accidental.

In tracking the woman’s behavioral patterns and her movements on the last day of her life, Espinosa’s eye is caught by the familiar face of a bank teller, Hugo Breno. As this chilling, unexpected thriller unravels, Espinosa learns of a link between Breno and himself that goes back to their childhoods in the same neighborhood and the tragic death of a young girl.

Half of the story shrouded in vague memories, Espinosa embarks upon a psychological journey with sinister undertones, haunted by a man who shadows the inspector’s every move and may be connected to more deaths that may or may not be murders. Building from the questionable death of an old woman to the ramifications of a linked past with a solitary, enigmatic man, Espinosa is in the middle of a puzzle that is based as much in imagination as in fact.

It is the circumstantial nature of the deaths that prove so fascinating in this sly, deftly plotted tale. Espinosa considers each death, past and present, from his own perspective and that of Breno, the impossibility of pinning down details or specific evidence a constant problem. If Breno is indeed a killer, he is extremely clever, his meetings with Espinosa eerie and provocative yet without the necessary substance to define a crime.

As the images of past and present collide, Espinosa draws closer to the mind of either a perverse killer or an innocent, troubled man who spent the long years of his childhood without friends or companions, save a fervently religious, ailing mother. Espinosa soon appreciates the limitations of logic and police procedure, mired in the tangled web of innocence lost. Garcia-Roza’s particular skill lies in seducing the reader in this dark tale of terrible possibilities and vague threats, where all is made of fragile threads from one incident to another, one victim to another, yet with no solid proof to take action.

As a result, Espinosa and his detectives spend hours trying to find the shape of this thing, whether they are dealing with a monster or the merely tragic victim of terrible circumstances. Yet as Breno draws closer to the inspector, the aura of threat grows stronger until even Espinosa cannot ignore the blaring warnings of his intuition. The result is unsettling, Espinosa finding his way to the heart of the matter with only seconds to spare.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Luan Gaines, 2010

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