Friday, January 11, 2008

Pg. 69: Leighton Gage's "Blood of the Wicked"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Leighton Gage's Blood of the Wicked.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the remote Brazilian town of Cascatas do Pontal, where landless peasants are confronting the owners of vast estates, the 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.

Among the early praise for the novel:

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

"Leighton Gage achieves both a powerful political thriller and gripping crime fiction in his fascinating debut Blood of the Wicked, set in Brazil. The author packs an immense amount of plot twists based in politics, street violence and corruption that seep into each branch of government. Drawing on several issues plaguing contemporary Brazil, Gage keeps the story moving as he looks at the different strata of society. Violence is brutal and doesn't spare anyone."
--"A gripping tale of murder and vengeance. Gage's inspector is a fascinating character. Highly recommended."
--Library Journal

"Gage's emotionally charged debut…vividly evokes a country of political corruption, startling economic disparity, and relentless crime, both random and premeditated."

"Terrifically written, intelligent, and powerfully evocative. Leighton Gage is a master storyteller, a natural; but more than that, he takes us on a breakneck trip to a real world, with real characters, and real issues. This is definitely a not-to-be-missed debut."
--Brian Haig, Man in the Middle

Leighton Gage has been a copywriter, an advertising creative director, a magazine editor, and a writer/producer/director of documentary films and industrial videos. Read an excerpt from Blood of the Wicked and learn more about the author and his work at Leighton Gage's website and his Crimespace page.

The Page 69 Test: Blood of the Wicked.

--Marshal Zeringue