About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blood of the Wicked by Leighton Gage

Blood of the Wicked by Leighton Gage – The first book in the Chief Inspector Mario Silva series set in Brazil. I have been thinking about reading in the series for some time and bought the book while in Minneapolis last month.

The book opens with a flourish. Dom Filpe Antunes, the Bishop of Presidente Vargas, makes a triumphant arrival by helicopter at Cascatas do Pontal, a rural town in the state of Sao Paulo, to celebrate a new church being consecrated. As he steps forward to greet his people a bullet wound appears on his chest and then a second shot takes off part of his head.

With the Pope calling the President of Brazil there is great urgency to solve the murder. Silva, though a member of the Federal Police, is immediately dispatched with his nephew, Hector Costa, to assist the local state police in solving the crime. Colonel Emerson Ferraz does not want help and barely deigns to spend 5 minutes providing basic information to Torres.

Silva is familiar with Cacatas because Aurelio Azevedo,  a local leader in the Landless Workers’ League, together with his wife and two children have been brutally killed a few months earlier outside the town.

On arriving in Cacatas the investigation is expanded as Orlando Muniz Junior, the dissolute son of a huge estate owner has disappeared.

Gage’s Brazil is a brutal land for the rich and the poor. The conflict between the great estate owners and the landless poor is escalating as the book begins. With over 1,500 of the poor killed it is verging on civil war in the interior.

Amidst a rising tension between the landless masses and the privileged elite, Silva seeks information on who would want the bishop dead. Could believers in liberation theology want the conservative bishop gone?

Silva and Costa are men of integrity in a legal system filled with the dishonest. Justice is most often found at the end of a gun. Between corrupt police and judges there is little chance of honest verdicts.

The excerpt from Psalms 58:10 to open the book is most apt:

The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.

Vigilante justice is practised by all. With all Brazilian men claiming the right to be God there is the predictable consequence of escalating vendettas. 

They would be well advised to read the next verse of the Psalm:

So that a man shall say, verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.

It is God, not man, who is to make judgment upon and take vengeance on the wicked.

Gage is uncompromising. It is not a book for those who dislike blood. I will try to read another in the series as I liked the characters but I hope the body count diminishes in later books in the series. When the death toll exceeded two dozen in Blood of the Wicked it was hard for me to think of the book as a mystery. (Feb. 10/13)


  1. Thank you, Bill, for taking the time and trouble to review BLOOD OF THE WICKED.
    I think you'll find that the books that follow are less "graphic" in terms of violence -- and body counts DO diminish. Also, the humor content goes up. To see the sharp contrast between "then" and "now", you might want to jump ahead to "A VINE IN THE BLOOD", which can be read as a standalone. And then, if you like that, go back to BURIED STRANGERS, which you should read prior to DYING GASP, because there is a particularly disagreeable character who first appears in the former who continues on into the latter. And remember that guy Muniz, the rich landowner in BOTW.
    He's back in PERFECT HATRED, the book I launch in the US and Canada on the 19th of February.
    Must be kinda cold in your neck of the woods at this time of year, eh?
    Here, in SP it's a balmy 28 Celsius. But rainy.

  2. Leighton: Thanks for the comment. I am glad to hear there are fewer bodies to come. I will go looking for "A Vine in the Blood".

    It is cold in Saskatchewan this week. When I left a week ago there was over a meter of snow in my yard. However, I am currently sitting on a lovely beach in Hawaii for a couple of weeks.

  3. Hawaii?
    Great choice, Bill, for this time of the year.
    Enjoy it!

  4. Leighton: Thank you. I am not missing winter.

  5. Bill, I was glad to see this post because I have not yet read Blood of the Wicked and plan to do so this year. Your insights and the comments from the author were very useful. I mind blood and high body counts less in a book than in a movie. Thanks for this review. And hope your trip is going well.

  6. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. I look forward to a review from you later in the year. It has been a good vacation.