Alone in the Crowd

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Overview

A HOUSTON CHRONICLE SUMMER READING PICK

A Rio de Janeiro Thriller

An elderly lady approaches the front desk at the Twelfth Precinct in Copacabana and demands to speak with the chief. Tired after a long day, she leaves without further explanation, promising to return. Two hours later, Doña Laureta is dead, and witnesses’ accounts vary as to whether she was pushed or fell in front of the bus that killed her on ...

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Alone in the Crowd: An Inspector Espinosa Mystery

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Overview

A HOUSTON CHRONICLE SUMMER READING PICK

A Rio de Janeiro Thriller

An elderly lady approaches the front desk at the Twelfth Precinct in Copacabana and demands to speak with the chief. Tired after a long day, she leaves without further explanation, promising to return. Two hours later, Doña Laureta is dead, and witnesses’ accounts vary as to whether she was pushed or fell in front of the bus that killed her on one of the busiest avenues in the city.

Veteran police chief inspector Espinosa quickly pinpoints a suspect in Hugo Breno, an unassuming bank teller whose solitary existence takes on a sinister cast as he shadows the inspector’s movements across the city. Meanwhile Espinosa discovers an unsettling connection from the past between himself and Breno and must turn his trademark psychological inquiry inward to determine how murky memories of a murder from long ago might play into Doña Laureta’s untimely passing. Chilling and ultimately heart-stopping, Alone in the Crowd presents Espinosa as we have never seen him before, the man of detached expertise and calm self-assurance entangled in a mystery where reason alone will not suffice.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Psychologically complex sleuthing . . . every woman Espinosa encounters is as gorgeous as the Girl from Ipanema."—The Toronto Star

 

"A sophisticated, almost existential puzzle . . . Chief Espinosa in a case that goes back to his own childhood."—The Denver Post

 

"You shouldn't miss this book . . . Read this and be reminded that some of the finest fiction comes from Latin America, and that no less a luminary than Argentine Jorge Luis Borges started his career with elegantly crafted mystery stories.  We can see his shadow in the sure styling and beautifully constructed plot in Alone in the Crowd."—The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

 

"Sets the bar very high . . . Espinosa is a hard-boiled fan's delight, brooding, boozing, reading Melville, admiring beautiful women, and slowly, pessimistically managing to solve crimes."—Booklist on the Inspector Espinosa series

Library Journal

An elderly woman visits the 12th precinct station in Copacabana and asks to speak to the chief, but he is in a meeting. Two hours later, the woman is dead. Was she pushed or did she fall in front of that bus? Espinosa (Blackout) tackles a murder case with no proof of a murder. VERDICT For readers who enjoy foreign mysteries in the style of Georges Simenon.


—Jo Ann Vicarel
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312429881
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 5/25/2010
  • Series: Inspector Espinosa Mysteries Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 562,326
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza is a bestselling novelist who lives in Rio de Janeiro. His Inspector Espinosa mysteries—The Silence of the Rain, December Heat, Southwesterly Wind, A Window in Copacabana, Pursuit, and Blackout—have been translated into six languages and are available in paperback from Picador.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A super Brazilian police procedural

    At a bank in Rio de Janeiro, pensioner Dona Laureta withdraws her money from the same teller Hugo Breno every month like clockwork. She leaves the bank, goes to the grocery and pharmacy, and then she travels to the police of the Twelfth Precinct in Copacabana. She asks to speak with the chief, but Espinoza is tied up in a meeting. She decides to leave and come back later, but instead is run over by a bus; bystanders believe she was deliberately pushed.------------

    The police interrogate Breno who remains a person of interest. Espinoza has him under surveillance. They learn he has no friends, conducts a fanatical physical exercise program, and walks in dense crowds without speaking to anyone. Espinoza is unaware that Breno has been watching him for decades and even came to the same park when they were children. A memory of a child's death makes the cop wonder if the teller was involved. They meet at a restaurant and Hugo tells his story to Espinoza. A day later Laureta's friend is killed. Espinoza is sure that Breno killed both women, but has no evidence. Both adversaries risk their lives with similar yet differing purposes.-----------

    The translation of this novel is executed perfectly (by Benjamin Moser) so that the Brazilian customs come across full of life but different from America and especially how that impacts the way the police do their job in Rio. Ergo readers will feel they are in Brazil and not in their armchair. Inspector Espinoza is a good person doing a good job as he struggles with an investigation that contains a personal twist, but seems to be going nowhere though he is 100 percent positive Breno is the killer. The audience will admire the lead character and want to read his past cases (see BLACKOUT and PURSUIT) as the aptly titled ALONE IN THE CROWD is a super Brazilian police procedural.-------------

    Harriet Klausner

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