2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Tight, atmospheric noir set in 1980s Argentina,
This review is from: Sweet Money (Inspector Lascano Mystery) (Paperback)
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Although this is #2 in a trilogy involving Inspector Lascano, it didn't matter much that I'd missed the first part. Author Mallo gives you just enough background that you can make sense of his razor-edged narrative -- it would have been better to have read the three books in order but I started with this one and I'm glad that I didn't pass it by on the grounds that it was the middle episode. Each book obviously tells a complete tale, and 'Sweet Money' has a vey definite beginning, middle and end.
The prose is stylish, sharp and succinct. It took me a little while to get used to Mallo's habit of running all speech together in one great long paragraph (irritating, actually; a pointless piece of artistry), but that was the only downside. The writing is atmospheric; bitter at times, poignant and artful. Mallo treats his readers as if they are adults -- not all of the action takes place in front of us, and sometimes we're left to deduce what happened off stage. Key plot points are telegraphed... but not all of them unravel in the way you might expect.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the insight into Argentinian society in the years after military rule had ended, but when corruption and chaos were rife on the streets.
Will seek out the other books by this author. Definitely recommended for fans of Travis McGee, Andrew Vachss or Don Winslow. But this is not a 'cosy' kind of detective series which appens to be set in a sun-soaked paradise. It's of the gritty, urban ilk -- which means you can't expect to be particularly uplifted although the author does allow a glint of optimism to leech onto the horizon.