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When a young journalist named Bernardo Blanco is killed in the fictional Mexican port city of Paracun, investigation into his murder reveals missing links in a disturbing multiple homicide case from 20 years earlier. As police officer Ramn el Macetn Cabrera discovers, Blanco had been writing a book about a 1970s case dealing with the murder of several young schoolgirls in Paracun by a man known as el Chacal. Cabrera realizes that whoever killed Blanco wanted to keep the truth about el Chacal from being revealed, and he becomes determined to discover that truth.
The Black Minutes chronicles both Cabrera's investigation into Blanco's murder and goes back in time to follow detective Vicente Rangel's investigation of the original el Chacal case. Both narratives expose worlds of corruption, from cops who are content to close the door on a case without true justice to powerful politicians who can pay their way out of their families' crimes. Full of dark twists and turns, and populated by a cast of captivating and mostly corrupt characters, The Black Minutes is an electrifying novel from a brilliant new voice.
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Stopped Listening With an Hour Left
This novel started out promising as it seemed to be developing a character, a reluctant police officer investigating a horrific set of crimes. Character development is often left wanting in police/murder mysteries. It even had an interesting structure going back in time (20 years to when these gruesome murders started). However, one third into the book the whole narrative gets bogged down and plods with excessive introductions of excessive red herrings and subplots. As a person who does not speak or read Spanish, I became very confused keeping track of who was who. Part of my confusion I attribute to the narrator who pretty much had the same tone of voice for everyone. I THINK the murderer was revealed just before the last hour was started counting down and if there’s another REAL murderer, I found myself not caring one iota as the one arrested was not a noteworthy character previously if even mentioned. That is why I said to hell with it, I’m not listening anymore. And then there’s dreams revealing clues. That’s the cheesiest plot device ever. And let’s talk about the old detective who devised his own profiling system but the reader never really is illuminated or how it works. Part of me wants to return this for credit but the other parts feels it would be cheating.
The plot and narrative was above average but not revolutionary. The voice of Eric Pollins sounds like rich, hot coffee and brings the story to life in a magically gritty way.