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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All in the family - a murderous summer in Barcelona - 4+
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...
Published 14 months ago by Blue in Washington

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Barcelona? Really?
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...
Published 1 month ago by Carmen


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All in the family - a murderous summer in Barcelona - 4+, 14 May 2013
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Blue in Washington "Barry Ballow" (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1) (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
2.0 out of 5 stars Barcelona? Really?, 3 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1) (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent, if unspectacular, police procedural, 26 Aug 2013
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Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1) (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Summer of Dead Toys, 24 Aug 2013
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1) (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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Was his next any better? I shall never know., 25 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1) (Paperback)
Antonio Hill's "The Summer of Dead Toys" leaves me with mixed feelings. As a yarn it develops at a rapid pace and the urge to keep turning the pages is pretty strong, even though there is much to irritate. Perhaps it is harsh to be over-critical of a first novel; but for Hill's sake I hope his professional critics pulled no punches, otherwise subsequent tales of Inspector Salgado may have suffered the same deficiencies as the first: too much going on, perhaps in an effort to disguise a weak main story line; an unbelievable laxity in police procedure; the cliché of a policeman suspended for perceived dereliction; the incorporation of just about every contemporary middle-class angst; and a tendency to lurch towards the kind of storytelling more appropriate to a mass-market women's magazine. In view of this last, therefore, it is odd that the character of Salgado is no more developed than that of others upon whom this story depends. Odd too that Barcelona should appear as no more than the flimsiest of coat hangers from which this tale droops; far from "evoking the master of Barcelona-set narrative, Carlos Ruiz Zafón" as claimed by the publisher (quoting a review in the Independent) it merely drops a few place names and harps on about the summer heat. This is Barcelona at considerable arm's length; but not only is the general sense of place very weak, so too is the particular: none of the more specific locations is more than lightly sketched. The eye for detail that can provide so much atmosphere in a story is, in Hill's case, directed only at the inconsequential.

The narrative style, while generally fluent, wants an editor's attention to the occasional awkward passage that needs to be more colloquial (though not 'demotic' which Hill employs all too unreservedly in direct speech.) It is disconcerting when the narrative tense switches from perfect to the present, for no apparent purpose or advantage; and employing dreams as an aid to unraveling mysteries always strikes me as a cheap device, as does alleged intuition on the part of protagonists. Finally, minor and incidental characters, if required at all, ought to be clearly shown out of the story when their purpose is discharged, not just allowed to become loose ends.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a fine detective in a gorgeous city, 12 Jun 2014
By 
R. W. M. Lally (Watford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1) (Paperback)
This is a very promising first novel in the Inspector Salgado series. It is perhaps a bit slow but this is probably because Hill is establishing his characters.

At the moment Hill's writing is not as sharp as Donna Leon's, and his Barcelona is not as vivid as her Venice, but this is only the first in the series so I think it is a very likely he will get better. I am certainly looking forward to the rest of the series.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Antonio Hill-The Summer of Dead Toys, 31 May 2013
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Simon Clarke (Hackney, London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1) (Paperback)
The excellent debut novel reveals a story-teller of high
calibre.
Set in Barcelona,after seriously assaulting a potential
culprit in a human trafficking case,Inspector Salgado,is
moved onto clearing-up an apparent suicide of a teenager
who fell to his death from a window.
What follows is a thrilling well-plotted novel,with engaging
well developed characters,as Salgado,aided by his two highly
competent and supportive female colleagues ,encounter voodoo,
child abuse and some members of the upper echelons of society
covering up their misdeeds.
First class. A writer to look out for.
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The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1)
The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1) by Antonio Hill (Paperback - 25 April 2013)
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