…but somehow they haven’t worked for me. Maybe I’m picking the wrong ones?
Off Side seemed promising – a mystery set in Barcelona in the years just before the Olympics.
Pepe Carvalho could care less about soccer, but then an executive from Barcelona’s world-famous soccer team pays him a visit. “The center forward will be killed at dusk,” reads the note the exectuvie gives to Carvalho.
With that, the detective, former communist and one-time employee of the CIA, must find out where this note is from. Is the threat real? Is it the work of one person? Or is it one of the real estate moguls tearing Barcelona apart in their battle over the most important properties of Catalonia?
Here Montalban does for the game of soccer what he has done for food. In an exquisite portrait of Spain’s most beloved sport, soccer and politics mix in a gripping mystery about the reckless excesses – and limits – of power.
I only managed to finish 86 of 275 pages; I’m not sure how many chapters that worked out to be because although there are what appear to be chapter breaks, they aren’t numbered. The writing was fine, but I was just not interested in the story or engaged by any of the characters. Carvalho came across as remote, aloof, and condescending. The women were all pathetic prostitutes or greedy prostitutes or drunk shrews or twits. The characters all complain about foreigners a lot — they are a worse class of criminals than old-fashioned Catalan criminals. Eighty six pages in, and I’m not sure why anyone really cares about the center forward enough to make him a possible target.
The book might get better. But I’m beginning to think that noir mysteries are just not for me.