Tuesday, February 25, 2014

THE WAYS OF EVIL MEN by Leighton Gage

This is one book I found impossible to close for the night until I’d read every line.  What a setting and what a plot!  Gage so perfectly describes the nether regions of a remote Brazilian state that one can all but feel the heat and drenching perspiration that is impossible to escape.  As is said a visitor does not drink water for pleasure but for survival.   Truth be told there are precious few visitors save for Jade Calmon, the official tribe relations agent.

Twice a year she visits the Awana tribe who live in the Amazon jungle.  The tribe had shrunk in size to a mere 41 but to Jade’s horror she now discovered it numbered a great deal less..  There are two remaining -  Amati and his 8-year-old son who lead her to 39 mounds of earth.  She heard “All Awana...Dead...Men kill.”  She realizes that all must have died at the same time, but how and why?

Jade soon learns that there is no help in solving the mystery of the sudden death of so many.  Further, and perhaps worse no one seems to care.  She’s unable to elicit any response from local law enforcement officials while people in a nearby town share one opinion - “Good riddance” while arguments ensue as to who can claim the valuable tribal land.  Jade sends an SOS to Chief Inspector Mario Silva.  He and his team arrive to be greeted with zero cooperation by the town folk, which is putting it mildly.  There is suspicion, hostility and one more death - the murder of an important white citizen.

What follows is an example of Gage’s admirable skill in plotting and drawing complex characters.  Sadly the author passed away this year so this is the last book in what is an outstanding series.  The words of Leighton Gage will be greatly missed.

- Gail Cooke

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