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Kirkus Reviews: "The fatal beating of a loner takes a pair of cops deep into the underside of Barcelona, which seems to be populated entirely by the worst kind of dog people."

Date: May 15 2006

The fatal beating of a loner takes a pair of cops deep into the underside of Barcelona, which seems to be populated entirely by the worst kind of dog people.

The victim is discovered with his money intact but his identification carefully removed. It's not until neighbors complain about an unattended dog's whining in an apparently vacant apartment that he's identified as the dog's owner, Ignacio Lucena Pastor. At first, Inspector Petra Delicado and her colleague, Sergeant Ferm"n Garz�n, can find no motive for the assault, which escalates to murder when Lucena dies without regaining consciousness after several days in the hospital. What they find instead is the unexpected possibility of romance—Petra with handsome veterinarian Juan Monturiol, Ferm"n with both philosophical pet bookseller Angela Chamorro and sexy dog trainer Valentina Corts. Closer perhaps to true love is the devotion Petra shares with Freaky, the dog Lucena left behind. In a city where stealing and trafficking in dogs isn't criminal, Petra and Ferm"n probe the possible sources of Lucena's hidden wealth. Was he selling dogs to unscrupulous breeders, pharmaceutical labs or organizers of dogfights? In Caistor's fluent translation, veteran Gimnez-Bartlett reveals all the casual brutality of her world and its surprising capacity for compassion.

A welcome English-language debut, first published in Spain in 1997, that's bound to remind readers of the 2000 Mexican film Amores Perros, prefigured here as an equally powerful police procedural.