Antonio Hill is, professionally, a translator of English-language texts into Spanish. In 2012, the translation of his El Verano de los Juguetes Muertos (The Summer of Dead Toys) was released to the English-language-reading public. It’s a mystery/thriller, with main character Héctor Salgado starring as a pretty cool detective with a crappy life and a lot of bad luck.
Since this book is meant to be prolonged into a series, there are two story threads, the main one concerning the “summer of dead toys,” and the secondary one, which will translate into the sequel. The main thread is the story of a young man named Marc Castells, who apparently fell – or jumped – from his window while smoking a cigarette. But, the deeper Inspector Salgado digs into the case, the more strange secrets he uncovers. I have to say, I really did not see the ending coming. It hit me like a cold ice cream truck on a sweltering Fourth of July.
This story was set in a steaming Barcelona summer – and that might be what made it even more appealing. I read it during a strange New England heat wave during the last week of May. It was ninety degrees, muggy, and I was sitting on the back porch, reading this book. It’s like it was meant for my oddly hot May weekend.
The secondary thread of the story was as enthralling as the main one, and set up a great entrance for the sequel. This story was so dark and complex, I could make my review a lot longer, but I’ll just leave you with: I highly recommend it. Great example of the mystery genre, very different from much that’s been done before. Good work, Mr. Hill.