If the book cover for The Good Suicides hadn’t billed the novel as a thriller, it might have left a better impression with me. The book, the second to feature author Antonio Hill’s inspector Hector Salgado, features a snarling dog on the cover and the words A THRILLER in the bottom corner. By thriller, I expected to be reading a lot of action, namely in the form of heart-pounding chase scenes or shoot ‘em ups between characters and a battle against the clock to avoid some sort of impending doom.
Not the case.
Instead, the book was more of a straightforward police investigation into a series of suspicious suicides among employees of a cosmetic company. Salgado isn’t even the main character here. Much of the novel features his subordinate agents pursuing clues or interviewing witnesses while Salgado awaits updates. Or, in the interim, we get chapters following his assistant Leire Castro as she tries to unravel the mysterious disappearance of Salgado’s wife Ruth, which apparently happened in the previous book in the series, The Summer of Dead Toys.
Okay, so setting the cover blurb aside, the premise is an intriguing one. Each of the suicide victims has received an emailed photograph of dogs hanging from a tree along with the warning: “Never forget.” There is a deep-rooted mystery here and one that begs to be solved before another employee falls victim.
Unfortunately, the investigation proceeds at a snail’s pace. Hill does the reader a favor by providing numerous chapters from the point of view of several of the employees, hinting at their deep secret/cover-up, but never divulging the whole truth until near the end. But as a reader I never really cared whether any of the surviving employees were in danger of meeting their own fate. Nor did I care if Salgado solved the case in time to save them.
Hill sprinkles in some fine writing along the way, though it’s not enough to save this novel from its mediocre pace and not-all-that-shocking finale.
The Good Suicides clocks in at 352 pages and is published by Crown.
Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.