A happy-go-lucky dog stumbles across a mass grave on the edge of Sao Paulo, kicking off the narrative of Buried Strangers, Leighton Gage's second novel (and second in the Chief Inspector Mario Silva series). Gage and his team of off-the-rack investigators soon realize that the grave in question is no ancient Indian burial mound. These bodies are only a few years old and were ritualistically knocked off.
After the 'must be a cult' line of thinking goes nowhere, it soon becomes clear that something much more silent and sinister is going on. Inspector Silva and the gang put the pieces together just in time to save one of their own from becoming the next victim.
Sound familiar? It might be because you've read this before. Gage's police procedural is rather formulaic and the plot largely unoriginal. Perhaps because they were introduced in his first novel, the author does not give you a glimpse into the soul of the any of the characters. Why bog down a fast-paced storyline with character development?
Because of (or in spite of) the very simple dialogue, the plot does indeed move quickly and the reader is never lost or confused. Where Gage does make things interesting is in the setting itself. By the end of the book, you feel like you’ve just had a whirlwind tour of Brazil, its politics and corruption. The Sao Paulo Chamber of Commerce will not recommend this book.
Quick, easy read; the tale has an interesting setting.
The cast of characters, however, are not very interesting. It reads like a made-for-TV movie.
The Bottom Line:
Unless you have some emotional attachment to Brazil, skip this. Police procedurals can have both suspenseful story lines AND character development. See George Pelecanos and/or Richard Price.