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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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Garcia-Roza, Luiz Alfredo : Pursuit

  Amazon  

5 stars

The fifth installment in Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza's Inspector Espinosa series finds the chief of Rio de Janeiro's 12th precinct looking into a series of related complaints. A certain Dr. Nesse, a psychiatrist, contacts Espinosa after his daughter disappears, and he and Espinosa have further contact later on when more troubles befall the psychiatrist and his family. Nesse is convinced that he is being persecuted by one of his patients, an enigmatic young man who calls himself Jonah, but substantiating his accusations proves to be difficult.

So much for the plot, as I don't want to give anything away. This is a very smart book. Garcia-Roza tells the story initially from the perspective of the psychiatrist, who believes he is being stalked by Jonah and feels himself unaccountably threatened by it. Readers will feel the threat too: there is something menacing about Jonah's behavior, despite that his actions are ostensibly innocent. But as the story progresses the situation becomes increasingly ambiguous: is Jonah as bad as we're led to believe, or is the psychiatrist a paranoid? As Jonah says at one point in the story regarding his own behavior, "As you can see, the facts are the same, but the meaning is different." Interpretation is everything. The levels of possibility in the novel make for a delicious read.

Pursuit is translated into English from its original Portuguese. I can't speak for the author's style in his native language, but in English the prose is wonderfully straightforward. The clarity of the writing reminds me of the writing style of Patricia Highsmith (the author of, among other books, the five Tom Ripley novels), and Garcia-Roza's writing is similar to Highsmith's also in that he manages to create an atmosphere of tension from his descriptions of everyday activities. This one's definitely worth the read, and it would make an excellent selection for discussion groups. Familiarity with previous books in the series is not necessary.

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