November 10, 2011

Review: A Vine in the Blood - Leighton Gage

Well hello there and welcome.

As you may or may not have noticed, I`ve been on a blogging hiatus. It needed to be done and now I feel like I can finally be a blogger again (hopefully).
And this is the first review I am writing completelly after I started posting again, it's a review of a book by an author I hold dear, his name is Leighton Gage and he's a very interesting man, so I'm opening an exception here, as I don't usually talk about the authors themselves, and go for it.
Leighton is an author of crime fiction, best known for the Chief Inspector Mario Silva Investigations series of novels set in Brazil. This is the fifth book on the series and, well, since I'm Brazilian, Leighton thought I would have an interesting opinion on it.
He's spent 20 years living in Brazil and his wife is Brazilian, so he can talk about Brazil, but, of course, it is an american story - told to americans, not to Brazilians. Before having a writing career, he was an international creative director for a major advertising agency. He won over 120 awards for advertising excellence and served on the juries of the Lions Festival in Cannes, the Art Director’s Club of New York, the Clio Awards, and the Australian Writers and Art Directors Association - which is all really really cool, specially for me, who work in advertising but can only dream of those prizes - internet advertising doesn't really win awards, even if they show awesome results.
A Vine in the Blood is a police book, along the lines of Law & Order and other police tv shows. A Brazilian Soccer player's mom is kidnapped and the best of the best are recruited to solve the crime before time runs out and everything is ruined.
To add more tension, it's the period right before the World Cup and the game against Brazil's largest rival - Argentina, which would have no chance to win, except if that one player was off his game.
So Chief Inspector Mario Silva is assigned to this task, with his boss always bugging him, trying to be updated and giving stupid advice - also, trying to step on the spotlight, because whoever catches the kidnappers and "saves" the brazilian soccer cup is definitely going to be a star.
Thrillers and police stories aren't my favorite genres, but I just had to read Mr. Gage's story, since it was something so appealing to me, with the whole "Brazil seen from the outside". I believe he managed to capture some of Brazil, not all, of course. I won't even say that he doesn't show the beautiful sides of Brazil - Law and Order doesn't show how wonderful NY is either. Some small things don't seem customary to me, but that doesn't mean they're not Brazilian - that just means I live on the most Southern state and I might just be a bit biased since I don't even know large parts of Brazil myself. Those things didn't bother me and most likely wouldn't bother anyone that likes fiction, even because Brazil is huge and there are different ways of doing things here and there and everywhere.
I didn't think the plot was easy, also I didn't find it hard. It was a police book, where you get new facts here and there and you usually don't get the suspect right on the first guess, but you understand it with the investigator and you come to the same conclusion almost at the same time.

Leighton Gage is the author of five novels in A Chief Inspector Mario Silva Investigation book series: Blood of the Wicked (2008), Buried Strangers (2009), Dying Gasp (2010), Every Bitter Thing (2010), and A Vine in the Blood (2011). His next book Perfect Hatred, the sixth in the series, is scheduled to be released in North America in December of 2012. The Ways of Evil Men, the seventh, in December of 2013. He also shares a blog Murder is everywhere, with seven other authors of “international mysteries”.

I invite all of you to read his book, not only to get to know more about Brazil but to read a great story, with characters that have a personality and a background history, that aren't there just to fill in, but they make sense and make a difference on the story.

You can buy A Vine in the Blood after December 27th, in the USA (Kindle Edition and Hardcover), and now, in Kindle Edition, everywhere else ;)