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The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1) Paperback – 25 Apr 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (25 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552778265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552778268
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 306,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A welcome corrective to snow-blindness from too much Nordic noir... excellent characterisation, a sympathetic and engaging protagonist and plenty of plot twists with a cliff hanger ending that sets things up nicely for the next in the series" (Guardian)

"Entertaining debut" (Marcel Berlins Times)

"Evokes the master of Barcelona-set narrative, Carlos Ruiz Zafon... For all his storytelling skills, Hill’s real achievement is in the creation of an idiosyncratic new character, Salgado... a series to watch" (Barry Forshaw Independent)

"A blast of hot air through the current frozen Nordic crime-writing landscape" (Book of the Week Weekend Sport)

"Human trafficking, voodoo, the corruption of wealth and power, and sharp psychological insight. Don't miss" (Literary Review)

Book Description

International crime fiction from Spain set over a stifling summer in Barcelona, introducing Inspector Hector Salgado. For fans of Jo Nesbo

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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carmen on 3 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used to live in Barcelona and I love crime fiction. So the promise of a new detective running around streets I am familiar with and grew to love more than my own home seemed perfect. Oh dear. What a disappointment.

Firstly Barcelona. This could honestly have been set in Morton-in-the-Pig's-Poo for all it depicted the Catalan capital. Barcelona is vibrant. The rich bits, the poor bits, the Gaudi bits, the pretty bits, the scanky bits, the touristy bits.....it's all vibrant and alive. The setting of this book was beige. There is no other word to describe it.

Then the writing - or should I say translation? Awful. Just awful. I kept counting the number of expressions that had been translated literally from Spanish to English. There are hundreds of people who can translate these two languages. Why not find one who can do it properly? At first I didn't realise it was translated and simply thought the writing seemed clunky - reminded me of a friend who grew up in England but hasn't lived there now for so many years his English is a bit dated. But for a translator to be so bad is just wrong. It doesn't flow and some of the sentences are so long you have to read them twice or three times to take them in.

I so wanted to like this but it really didn't have any redeeming features. I couldn't get to like the characters and the story wasn't gripping either. I will admit to giving up half way.

Anyone who wants an atmospheric story set in Barcelona should leave this well alone. That lovely city deserves to be painted in all its wonderful glory. The mention of the odd familiar street name or plaza isn't enough for those who know the place or endear it to those who don't. Shame.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWERTOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 May 2013
Format: Paperback
Fine crime thriller set in in contemporary Barcelona. It opens as a young man falls to his death from a third story apartment window on the night of San Juan -- the Catalonian Summer Solstice festival. The victim, from a wealthy family, had just returned from a year in academic "exile" in Ireland and seemed to have turned his trouble life around. Inspector Hector Salgado is assigned to look into the matter informally as assault charges against him are being resolved. "The Summer...." then becomes an intertwining of the two cases as the investigation into the defenestration matter leads to a second death and the gradual involvement of three prominent families, and Salgado's personal status becomes more complicated as the victim of his assault turns up dead in Salgado's own apartment building. Ultimately, the stories merge into a focus on child abuse and its long-term ramifications for those affected. The author makes some powerful points about society's most vulnerable individuals.

This is a deftly written and entertaining novel with intelligent plotting and complex and credible characters. Several "obvious" candidates for principal bad guy turn out to be something quite different as the author constructs some skillful dead ends and red herrings. The ending is satisfying and establishes a path for a second Inspector Salgado novel as an important aspect the protagonist's life becomes unhinged just as his professional problems become resolved. Good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
This crime novel takes place over five days in a stifling, Barcelona summer. It begins with the return of Inspector Hector Salgado from a visit to his birthplace in Buenos Aires. He was sent away "on holiday" after an incident where he violently attacked a member of a gang involved in human trafficking of young girls. Although his resignation was refused, it is clear that the incident has not gone away and, at a lose end, his superior asks him to look into the case of nineteen year old Marc Castells Vidal, son of a prominent business and future politician, who fell from a balcony window to his death. As Salgado investigates, along with the engaging and promiscuous Leine Castro, they uncover more than they bargained for, in what was considered a straightforward accident.

Both Salgado and Castro have personal issues in this novel, which is extremely atmospheric, well written, slightly menacing and very disturbing. Salgado's issues with his last case follow him and his investigation in Marc's death leads him back into the past and the death of a young girl. This author is not afraid of tackling really hard hitting issues: parental abandonment, drugs, peer pressure, abuse and violence are all involved in this intelligent and thought provoking read. I really enjoyed this book and would certainly read more by this author as this is a fantastic start to a series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 26 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a very solid, readable crime novel. It is well written and involving, the characters are well enough drawn to convince much of the time, the story is well-paced and the dialogue generally believable.

Set in Barcelona, the story revolves around an apparent accident which, on further investigation, reveals murky goings-on in respectable families and family secrets from the past. It is a good story which moves at a decent pace. What I found lacking was a real sense of place and atmosphere. Somehow, I never really got a feel of Barcelona, and although we are repeatedly told it is very hot, the details were lacking which might have made this a convincing, pervading factor.

Minor reservations aside, this is a decent police procedural which isn't particularly original but is well enough written and constructed to be entertaining and generally pretty engrossing.
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