A Small Death in Lisbon Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Unabridged
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In such distinctively written novels as A Darkening Stain and Blood is Dirt, Robert Wilson established a solid claim to be the heir apparent of such major writers as Graham Greene in fusing thriller elements with brilliantly written novels of character. His speciality was the luminous creation of atmosphere in his exotic locales, and his 1999 Golden Dagger winner, A Small Death in Lisbon represents the most cogent example yet of this rare ability.
Europe, 1941: Lisbon is one of the world's tensest cities, and as the Nazis and Allies jostle for power, Iberia becomes a fulcrum for the menace that is about to engulf Europe. Klaus Felsen, torn from his Berlin factory to become a reluctant member of the SS, finds himself drawn into a savage battle for a vital element in Hitler's Blitzkrieg. There he meets a man who will set in motion a sinister conspiracy that will last to the end of the century.
Lisbon, 1998: Inspector Zé Coelho is struggling against the closed ranks of his colleagues in the investigation of the brutal murder of a young girl. Her disturbing sexual past is the focus for his colleagues' attention, but as Coelho begins to unearth some remarkable secrets behind her death, he encounters a plot that stretches beyond the 1974 Portuguese revolution--back to the atrocities of the fascist regime. Soon he is facing a terrifying opponent in his battle to uncover the horrors of the past.
The protagonist as an outsider in a hostile community may not be a new literary device, but rarely is it so adroitly handled. Coelho is a fully rounded character, vividly realised and handled with an unflinching honesty. The complexity of the narrative stays clear and compelling because of Wilson's ability to sharply rein various plot lines, while slowly allowing them to unfold. Although more ambitious and epic in its scope than his previous books, A Small Death in Lisbon retains all the author's customary and mesmerising imagery:
It was at about that time that a girl started to make her dent in the sand no more than the few hundred metres away from where I was sleeping. Her eyes wide open, she moonbathed to a night full of stars, her blood slack, her skin cold and hard as fresh tuna.-- Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Compulsively readable… rich in history and intrigue, love and death. Bold, inventive and wholly successful… Wilson unmistakably delivers the goods.’ Literary Review
‘This is vintage suspense writing; sharp, cold, mean and funny.’ Alan Furst
‘A gripping and absorbing drama that spans Europe from wartime Berlin to contemporary Lisbon.’ Val McDermid
‘A class act…For once a novelist influenced by Raymond Chandler is not shown up by the comparison.’ Sunday Times--This text refers to the Paperback edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
An excellent novel which I greatly enjoyed and from which I learnt a number of historical details.
The movement between wartime Germany/Portugal, and modernish-day Lisbon is really quite ambitious, and just about works well. The plots intertwine entertainingly, and while you feel the denouement has happened a bit early and you've "got it", there's always one more twist you didn't quite have under control.
Perhaps by the end, the scarey character wasn't quite scarey enough, and I have to admit that I find some of the violence, and fascination with bodily functions just a tad...unnecessary - but I'm probably just a woos.
Would want to try one more.
Well written and addictive. Top book.
A Small Death in Lisbon, with its brilliant dual narrative - one focusing on the exploits of the Germans in Portugal during the second world war, the other on the investigation of Inspector Ze Coehlo into the death of a Lisbon teenager - is an excellent piece of work in almost every way. A Gold Dagger winner, its structure is clever, and the two stories intertwine brilliantly. The book arches high, supported on the pillars of history, and becomes far, far more than a crime novel. Wilson writes excellently, with an intelligence and slight cynicism that really make the novel, and Ze Coehlo, while he may be damaged in the vein of many other contemporary detectives, is an excellent creation, and an incredibly compelling protagonist.
I've not a lot else to say about this book, save from that it's excellent. If you want proof that crime fiction is just as good as any other form, then Robert Wilson is one of several writers who will provide it in spades.
Some of the sexual content is sadistic and an uncomfortable read at times given the age of the murdered girl. There are very few writers who can describe the act of sex without it coming across as tacky, tawdry and voyeuristic, less is always more in this case. Wilson has obviously researched Lisbon in great detail, but do we really need to know the characters are sitting on white plastic chairs? There is far too much description of the city and at times reads like a travelogue. Maybe research should have included reading Saramago and Pessoa who have written about Lisbon in sparing prose that evoke the great city far better than a paragraph of Wilson's writing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As I was in Lisbon (Estoril) it seemed the ideal holiday read and it was. A good intricate story well told and enough suspense to keep you wanting more.Published 1 month ago by John Lawson
Excellent book with a complex and suspenseful plot with Portugals history from the 2nd World War until the present day. Read morePublished 3 months ago by K. Cawser
Recommended by a Spanish friend, just superb the plot twists and turns and creates a story that (unusually for me) I was unable to put down! Deserves its five stars twice over.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
A good read if you're interested in recent Portuguese history and/or would enjoy a novel set in Lisbon. Read morePublished 5 months ago by david canford
Enjoyed reading it 14 years ago and enjoyed it now even more as I live in Portugal and understand the geography and culture more than I didPublished 12 months ago by C A Vargas-Gardner