The Blue Hour by Alonso Cueto

Book Description (Amazon.co.uk)

Adrian Ormache is a prosperous lawyer living in Lima. He has the perfect life: a great career, beautiful wife, two doting and intelligent daughters. But when his mother dies a series of events devastate his entire view of the past, his parents, and his country.

Adrian’s mother leaves a letter indicating that she was being blackmailed. Confused, Adrian talks to his brother, who tells him that their long dead father Colonel Ormache, who led military operations against the ‘Shining Path’ guerrillas during the terrible Peruvian Civil War of the 1980’s, was not quite the hero Adrian had always considered him to be: he routinely had POWs and civilian women raped, tortured and executed. His mother’s blackmailer is revealed to be one of the Colonel’s former subordinates. When Adrian confronts him the man gives him the name of the one prisoner whom the Colonel spared and kept as a lover – Miriam.

Adrian becomes obsessed with finding Miriam. His search is cathartic and all-consuming, a journey that takes him into a country that is a far-cry from the stable, civilised Lima he’s used to, a people still haunted by a harrowing, ongoing war, and some truths about his family – and himself – that he could never have imagined.

The Random House Group

The Blue Hour was the winner of the 2005 Premio Herralde de novela for world’s best Spanish novel. (La hora azul, Anagrama) Highly recommended.

Alonso Cueto webpage

2012 Crime Fiction Alphabet, H is for Hill, Tony (Antonio) Hill

Our tour through the Crime Fiction Alphabet has arrived this week to the letter “H” and my “H” is for Hill. Antonio Hill (Barcelona, ​​1966) is a Spanish translator and a writer who lives in Barcelona. The Summer of Dead Toys (original title: El verano de los juguetes muertos), his debut novel, was published in July 2011 and soon became a great success. For me it was a pleasant finding. You can see my review HERE. It is available in translation by Transworld Publishers, 2012. The Summer of Dead Toys has been reviewed by Lynn Harvey at Euro Crime, by Malcolm Cliff at Books4Spain, at Shotsmag, and it was Bernadette’s pick of the month at Reactions to Reading.

Book description: When the death of a vulnerable young witness in a case of human trafficking and voodoo causes the normally calm Inspector Salgado to beat someone up, he is moved off the project and sent instead to investigate a teenager’s fall to his death in one of Barcelona’s uptown areas.
As Salgado begins to uncover the inconvenient truths behind the city’s most powerful families, two seemingly unsolvable cases are set to implode under the hot Barcelona sun.

His second book, Los buenos suicidas (Debolsillo, 2012) has just been released. I’m planning to read it soon, stay tuned, and hope that it will soon be available in English.  

Book description:  The evening of the fifth of January, on the Twelfth Night 2011, inspector Hector Salgado is haunted by the disappearance his ex-wife, Ruth. He can’t sleep and smokes one  cigarette after another. At dawn, still sleepless, he receives a call from the new agent under his command. The CEO’s executive secretary of a well known cosmetics company has committed suicide by throwing herself to the subway rails. It seems a minor case, but with the passage of time Salgado will discover that behind the possible suicide hides a complex and dangerous web of lies.
Meanwhile, police agent Leire Castro, trapped at home with an early medical leave, a month and a half before giving birth, thinks in the still open Ruth’s case. A mystery she can’t resist. And, although she should not initiate an investigation in her state, it’s in her nature insist and break down those walls that always hide something worse, no stop. (my translation).

The Crime Fiction Alphabet 2012 is a Community Meme hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. By Friday of each week participants try to write a blog post about crime fiction related to the letter of the week. Click HERE to visit the contribution of other participants.