La conspiración de los mediocres (Ediciones Siruela, 2015) by Ernesto Mallo

9788416465057_L38_04_x I look forward to La conspiración de los mediocres (literally The Conspiracy of the Mediocre), the last book by Ernesto Mallo published by Siruela, a prequel to the detective Perro Lascano series. The action takes place during the period when José López Rega, known as El Brujo, was the strongman of Argentina. The era that started the ‘Dirty War in Argentina which was later taken up by Jorge Videla‘s junta (1976–83) during which 30,000 persons were ‘disappeared’.

Ediciones Siruela

Reseña: Los hombres te han hecho mal (tr.: Men Have Done You Wrong) de Ernesto Mallo

This post is bilingual, scroll down to find the English language version.

Ediciones Siruela, 2012. ISBN: 97884-9841-706-7. Págs. 192.

Esta novela, el tercer caso del comisario Lascano, ha sido para mi el libro más esperado del año. Tal vez porque Ernesto Mallo no ha publicado demasiado. La historia tiene lugar en la actualidad. Parece que ha cerrado un ciclo. Sin embargo, si mi interpretación es correcta, Mallo ha comenzado a escribir una cuarta entrega de la serie donde la acción se traslada a una época anterior a su primer libro.

Cuando la historia comienza el comisario Lascano ha alcanzado la edad legal de la jubilación. ‘Yo no la pedí. No hace falta, es de oficio. ¿De oficio? Cuando llegás a la edad de jubilarte, si no te hacen la excepción por razones de servicio, te jubilan.’ Poco después recibe un encargo inesperado. Es contratado para encontrar a la nieta de una señora acaudalada que resulta ser su pariente. La niña desapareció hace algún tiempo, después de que su madre fuera asesinada. La misión le lleva a Mar del Plata, una localidad de la costa conocida como “la ciudad feliz”, donde tendrá que introducirse en el mundo de la prostitución y de la trata de blancas que tiene el triste honor de haber desplazado al tráfico de armas como el segundo negocio más lúcrativo del mundo. Por cierto que ésto no sería posible sin la connivencia de los poderes públicos y de los policías corruptos.

Mallo tiene un estilo muy personal, no exento de poesía a pesar del tema abordado. La historia capta la atención del lector hasta el último párrafo. Tal vez lo que más admiro es su capacidad de síntesis. Con muy pocas palabras Mallo cuenta una historia y recrea unos personajes que permanecerán en nuestra memoria durante mucho tiempo.  El libro es duro y violento pero la realidad es aún más dura y más violenta de lo que podemos imaginar, como él mismo reconoce. El diseño de la novela tiene un toque original en la manera en que están escritos los diálogos. Pueden exigir, quizá, una especial atención del lector, pero el resultado final es muy positivo, en mi opinión. Un libro excelente y muy bien escrito.

Mi valoración: 5/5.

Ver otras reseñas: de Sergio Torrijos en laRepúblicaCultural.es, de Ángel Iván en los libros del pintor ciego,


Los hombres te han hecho mal (tr.: Men Have Done You Wrong) by Ernesto Mallo

This novel, the third case of Superintendent Lascano, has been for me the most anticipated book of the year. Maybe because Ernesto Mallo has not published much. The story takes place in our times. It seems like he has closed a cycle. However, if my understanding is correct, Mallo has begun to write a fourth instalment in the series where the action moves to a time prior to his first book.

When the story opens Superintendent Lascano has reached the legal age for retirement. ‘I didn’t asked. No need, it applies automatically. ¿Automatically? When you reach retirement age, unless there is an exception for service requirements, you are retired, whether you like it or not.’ (my free translation). Soon after he receives an unexpected task. He is hired to find the granddaughter of a wealthy lady who happens to be his relative. The girl disappeared some time ago, after her mother was murdered. The mission takes him to Mar del Plata, a seaside resort known as “the happy city” where he will have to enter the world of prostitution and women trafficking that has the dubious honour of having displaced the arms trade as the second most lucrative business in the world. By the way this won’t be possible without connivance of public authorities and corrupt police officers.

Mallo has a very personal style, not without poetry despite the issue addressed. The story grabs the readers’ attention until the last paragraph. Perhaps what I admire most is his capacity for synthesis. With very few words Mallo tells a story and recreates characters that will last long in our memory. The book is harsh and violent, but reality is even harsher and more violent than what we can imagine, as he recognises himself. The formal design of the novel has an original touch in the way the dialogues are written. They may require, perhaps, an extra attention from the reader but the final results is very positive in my view. A superb and beautifully written book.

My rating: 5/5.

A Brief Encounter with Ernesto Mallo

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Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet Ernesto Mallo. It seemed to me that I knew him for a long time, thanks to his books. The occasion was the launching of his new book in Spain, Los hombres te han hecho mal (Siruela, 2012) originally published in Argentina (Planeta Editorial, 2012). I look forward to reading it soon.

In fact it was a very entertaining evening. Besides his new book, he talked about his childhood, his view of the world and about his native Argentina. Answering to my question Ernesto told us he intends to write a fourth instalment.

The evening was rounded off with the reading of his short story Marilyn Tango. You can find it HERE (in Spanish).

A brief autobiography is available HERE (in English) and HERE (in Spanish).

Los hombres te han hecho mal (tr.: Men Have Done You Wrong), by Ernesto Mallo

This evening Ernesto Mallo will present in Madrid his new book Los hombres te han hecho mal (tr.: Men Have Done You Wrong) This is the third instalment in his series featuring Superintendent Lascano, known as el “Perro”, the Dog. The presentation will take place at Traficantes de sueños bookshop. I simply can’t miss it.

There will be a further opportunity next Monday 29th October at Estudio en Escarlata bookshop.

My reviews of his previous books in the series:

Needle in a Haystack (La aguja en el pajar) by Ernesto Mallo (1)

La aguja en el pajar / Needle in a Haystack by Ernesto Mallo (2)

La aguja en el pajar /Needle in a Haystack by Ernesto Mallo (y/and 3)

Delincuente Argentino by Ernesto Mallo (English title Sweet Money)