Nemesis: One Man and the Battle for Rio

Misha Glenny. Knopf, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-385-35103-4
Investigative journalist Glenny (DarkMarket) provides a grim look at Rio de Janeiro through the life of Antônio Francisco Bonfim Lopes, known as Nem, who up until his arrest in 2011 was one of Brazil's most-wanted criminals. Nem's path to crime reads like something out of a novel. Prior to 1999, when his infant daughter Eduarda was diagnosed with a serious and rare disease, Nem was a diligent employee of Globus Express, a magazine distribution company. Unable to raise the needed funds for treatment, Nem turns to Lulu, a local gang leader, who agrees to give him the money; the grateful Nem offers to work for Lulu to pay off his debt. This arrangement leads Nem to become a major drug dealer who "exercised immense authority over a community of 100,000 people," and who may even have managed to continue to direct his cartel's operations from behind bars. Glenny interviewed Nem in prison 10 times and is clearly sympathetic to him ("Nem is no paragon, nor is he the devil"), but still manages to offer a balanced look at his subject. He less successfully attempts to connect Nem's story to the broader context of human nature. Agent: Clare Conville, Conville and Walsh Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/21/2015
Release date: 02/09/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5200-0034-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-5200-0029-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-5200-0032-9
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-345-80683-3
Hardcover - 978-1-77089-385-6
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