cover image The Night Will Be Long

The Night Will Be Long

Santiago Gamboa, trans. from the Spanish by Andrea Rosenberg. Europa, $18 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-60945-711-2

This intelligent police procedural from Gamboa (Necropolis) refracts decades of turbulent Colombian history through the experiences of dramatically drawn characters. When freelance journalist Julieta Lezama travels to Tierradentro in southern Colombia to investigate a fatal firefight, she finds the site wiped clean of evidence and the local authorities claiming ignorance of the incident. Working with Bogotá prosecutor general Edilson Jutsiñamuy, Julieta traces a trail of clues to two evangelical Christian churches active in the country, New Jerusalem and the Assembly of God, and the long-term animus between their pastors, Fritz Almayer and Fabinho Henriquez. Her probing elicits suspicions—Almayer’s record is “cleaner than a porcelain Christ,” but it only goes back 15 years; Brazilian Henriquez also operates gold mines and retains armed security—while excavating the country’s myriad social and political upheavals of the late 20th century, including the rise of the FARC revolutionary guerrilla group, the surge of paramilitary forces and gangsterism, the onslaught of kidnappings and disappearances, and incidents that emphasize the gross disparity in means between the wealthy and the poor. The characters relate their personal histories at length, which, though narratively intrusive, adds depth to the experiences they describe. It adds up to a colorful story with solid grounding in historical detail. (Nov.)