Wilson, Robert. The Vanished Hands. Harcourt. Jan 2005. c.368p. ISBN 0-15-100841-8. $25. Mystery.

Chief Inspector Javier Falcón, back after his emotional ordeal in The Blind Man of Seville, and Judge Esteban Calderón, now engaged to Falcón's ex-wife Inés, launch an investigation when wealthy developer Rafael Vega and his wife are found dead in their well-secured home in the outskirts of Seville. The case, which looks at first like a suicide pact, soon reveals unsettling details. Vega's Ukrainian gardener has disappeared, and the Russian mafia seems to have had ties to Vega's construction projects. His next-door neighbors are also suspects, and actor Pablo Ortega—whose son was sentenced to a lengthy (and perhaps unjust) prison term by Judge Calderón—commits suicide as the case progresses. A pedophile ring, the CIA, police corruption, 9/11, and Chilean torture centers under Pinochet add to the mix. This is a complex, brilliantly constructed mystery, perfectly paced and enormously satisfying. Wilson's characters are so well drawn that they walk off the page and into your mind. Highly recommended. Wilson lives in Portugal and Oxford, England.

LJ, 129, no. 16 (October 1, 2004), 65.


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