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The Book of Murder: 12/25/11

cover art

The Book of Murder by Guillermo Martinez is another of those long time wishlist books, on the list since the book was first published. Since it's an Argentinean mystery, I either learned about it via NPR or BBC radio. Regardless, I'm glad I added it to my list.

An author on a deadline has to hire a typist when he breaks his wrist. He's sent Luciana, a young, beautiful and efficient typist. The author meets his deadline and that's the last he thinks of her for a decade, until she reappears with an outlandish story involving her long time employer.

Luciana has been working for a well respected author — Kloster — who has a bit of a reputation. Her story, though, goes well beyond the stories and into depravity. If she is to be believed, he has been systematically killing everyone near and dear to her. She asks the un-named narrator to help prove Kloster is behind all these deaths.

Slowly but surely, Martinez builds the tension, leaving clues that point to Kloster, and just as many that point to Luciana making everything up. The narrator gets further and further involved, until he is also in danger, but he's not sure where the danger is coming from.

Martinez's book reads like a blend between a Daphne du Maurier thriller and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It's everything I had hoped Stieg Larsson's first book would be but for me wasn't. It was just the right balance of mystery, suspense, old secrets and new dangers.

Five stars.

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