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The Ways of Evil Men

Cover of The Ways of Evil Men

The Ways of Evil Men

Chief Inspector Mario Silva Series, Book 7
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As Chief Inspector Mario Silva has learned, justice is hard to come by in Brazil, so when his niece tells him about a possible genocide deep in the jungle, he agrees to round up his team and charter a plane to Pará to check it out.

Thirty-nine natives have recently dropped dead of mysterious causes. Given the tense relationship between the Awana tribe and the white townsfolk nearby, Jade Calmon, Pará's sole government-sponsored advocate for the native population, immediately suspects foul play and takes the two remaining Awana--a father and his eight-year-old son--into her custody. But when the father is discovered holding a bloody machete next to the body of a village big-shot, just before Silva's arrival, the plot thickens. Why would a peaceful man who doesn't believe in alcohol turn into a drunken killer?

As Chief Inspector Mario Silva has learned, justice is hard to come by in Brazil, so when his niece tells him about a possible genocide deep in the jungle, he agrees to round up his team and charter a plane to Pará to check it out.

Thirty-nine natives have recently dropped dead of mysterious causes. Given the tense relationship between the Awana tribe and the white townsfolk nearby, Jade Calmon, Pará's sole government-sponsored advocate for the native population, immediately suspects foul play and takes the two remaining Awana--a father and his eight-year-old son--into her custody. But when the father is discovered holding a bloody machete next to the body of a village big-shot, just before Silva's arrival, the plot thickens. Why would a peaceful man who doesn't believe in alcohol turn into a drunken killer?

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter ONE CHAPTER ONE

    Sunrise is a brief affair in an equatorial jungle. No more than a hundred heartbeats divide night from day in the rainforests of Pará, a hundred heartbeats in which a hunter must seize his chance. If he shoots too soon, he might miss; if he waits too long, his prey will surely detect him.
    The boy timed it perfectly. The dart flew true. A big male muriqui leaned to one side and tumbled out of the tree. The others screamed in alarm. The boughs began to heave, as if struck by a strong wind, and before Raoni could lower his blowgun, the remaining members of the monkey tribe were gone.

    ***

    The muriqui, almost a third of its captor's weight, was a heavy load for a boy of eight, but he was a hunter now. Right and duty dictated that he should carry it.
    Amati helped his son hoist the creature onto his narrow shoulders. To make sure it didn't fall, he made what he called a hunter's necklace, binding its hands to its feet by a length of vine.
    The hunt had taken them deep into the jungle. The sun was already approaching its zenith when they waded through the cold water of the stream and stepped onto the well-worn path that led from the fishing-place to the heart of their village.
    As they walked, they heard a sound that chilled their hearts: the squabbling of King Vultures, great birds half the height of a man that feed exclusively on carrion.
    ***

    When Raoni's father was a boy, the tribe had numbered more than a hundred, but that was before a white man's disease had reduced them by half. In the years that followed, one girl after another had been born, but the girls didn't stay; they married and moved on. It was the way of the Awana, the way of all the tribes. If the spirits saw fit to give them boys, the tribe grew; if girls, the tribe shrank. If it shrank too much, it died.
    The Awana were doomed, they all knew it, but for the end to have come so suddenly was a horrible and unexpected blow.
    Yara was lying in front of their hut, little Tota wrapped in her arms, while the buzzards pecked out her eyes.
    Yara's husband, Raoni's grandfather, Atuba, had fallen across the fire, felled in his tracks as if by a poison dart. His midriff was charred and blackened, the smell of his flesh permeating the air.
    The tribe's pajé, lay face down below a post from which a joint of roast meat was suspended. The tools of his rituals were spread about him: a rattle, a string of beads, some herbs—clear signs he'd been making magic.
    But his magic had failed.
    The father and his son went from corpse to corpse, kneeling by each. There were no signs of life other than the vultures.
    They came to the body of Raoni's closest friend, Tinga. The little boy's favorite possession, his bow, was tightly clutched in his hand—as if he couldn't bear to abandon it, as if he planned to bring it with him into the afterworld.
    Raoni was overcome with fury. He picked up a stone and flung it at one of the vultures. Then another. And another. But the birds were swift and wary. He didn't hit a single one, nor could he dissuade them. They simply jumped aside and went back to what they'd been eating—or settled, greedily, upon another corpse.
    The anger passed as quickly as it had come, replaced by a sense of loss and an emptiness that weakened his legs to the point where he could no longer stand. He threw himself onto the pounded red earth and cried.



    CHAPTER TWO

    ...

About the Author-
  • Leighton Gage is the author of six previous novels in the Mario Silva series: Blood of the Wicked, Buried Strangers, Dying Gasp, Every Bitter Thing, A Vine in the Blood, and Perfect Hatred. He spends part of each year in Santana do Parnaiba, Brazil, and divides the rest of the year between Florida and the Netherlands. He is married with four daughters.

Reviews-
  • The Wall Street Journal "Leighton Gage died in 2013, making this fine book, it would seem, the last Silva investigation. Given plot developments that involve an orphaned native youth, the book provides a fitting if unintended resolution to the memorable Silva chronicles."
  • Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review "The late Gage (1942--2013) weaves an engaging plot and psychologically complex characters together with a sharp-edged social commentary on the Brazilian class system; his voice will be greatly missed in the crime fiction community."
  • Glenn Harper, International Noir Fiction "A final gift from Leighton to his readers . . . His voice, his portrayal of vital fictional characters and stories, his outrage at injustices in Brazil and beyond, and his lively participation in the on-line crime fiction community will remain as his testament."
  • Booklist "A fine send-off for a compelling character."
  • BookPage, Top Pick in Mystery by Bruce Tierney "Gage had it all: social conscience; complex, well-drawn characters; and superb plot development. All he lacked was the gift of another dozen years of writing, to shepherd Chief Inspector Silva safely into his retirement."
  • Mystery Scene "Gage's last offering is at once dark and light, depressing and uplifting, violent but also compassionate, a tale of dastardly, cowardly evil, but also of quiet, unrelenting heroism."
  • Crime Scraps Review "I suspect that Leighton put a lot of himself into the character of Mario Silva, both will be sorely missed."
  • Midwest Book Review "Highly recommended. I can only urge that readers who appreciate strongly drawn characters and a well-plotted tale not miss this wonderful, final addition to a much-loved series from a writer who will be sorely missed."
  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram "A fitting farewell to the inspector."
  • Mysterious Reviews "The complexity of the storyline together with several credible paths of misdirection make this one of the better books in this already very good series; sadly, it will also be the last."
  • Timothy Hallinan, author of Crashed "No one writes the cold glint of evil in bright sunlight the way Leighton Gage does. And there's enough evil here--and heroism, too--for three lesser books."
  • The New York Times Book Review "Top notch . . . controversial and entirely absorbing."
  • Boston Globe "A dark, violent book with characters that seethe on the page . . . Compelling writing. Readers will smell the steam and stench of the Amazon and recoil from the torture and depredation from which Gage averts his lens, barely in time."
  • The Wall Street "The Silva investigations have all the step-by-step excitement of a world-class procedural series."
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The Ways of Evil Men
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Chief Inspector Mario Silva Series, Book 7
Leighton Gage
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