Pablo Neruda is brilliantly realized in this unusual mystery set during the volatility of the last months of the Allende revolution in Chile. The fictional detective, Cayetano Brulé, is hired by the elderly but still charismatic poet to locate a doctor that Neruda once knew and who he believes might have a treatment for his terminal condition. As Brulé follows the thin leads that Neruda supplies, he realizes that there is more to the assignment than Neruda originally let on. Originally reluctant and eager to complete his job, Brulé (and the reader) gets swept up by the still-powerful charisma and magnetism of Neruda as he travels to dangerous locales such as Cuba and East Berlin. He must piece together clues from the eccentric Neruda's romantic reminiscences and philosophical musings to even uncover what the actual mystery is in the first place. In the end, he becomes as obsessed with Neruda's legacy and Neruda himself seems to be.

As a character, Brulé is often threatened to be overshadowed by the larger-than-life (yet on the brink of death) Neruda, but he ends up holding his own and serves as an excellent foil to the famous poet. I look forward to reading more of the series.

JimLoter's rating:
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