Alicia Gimenez-Bartlett, , trans. from the Spanish by Nicholas Caistor. . Europa, $14.95 (311pp) ISBN 978-1-933372-14-3
American readers will welcome Giménez-Bartlett's detective duo of Insp. Petra Delicado and Sgt. Fermín Garzón in this sharply honed tale of dog trafficking in Barcelona. Delicado and Garzón investigate the near-fatal beating of a derelict whose sole possession seems to be a peculiar-looking dog. As the partners piece together the last few days of the victim's life, they learn his name, Lucena, and that he sold dogs to local universities and pharmaceutical companies for experiments. When a huge stash of cash turns up in Lucena's barren apartment, the detectives know their man was caught up in something far more lucrative than selling dogs for research. Both the case and the personal lives of Delicado and Garzón become more complicated, as the inspector gets involved with a local veterinarian and Garzón finds himself in a love triangle with a bookstore owner and dog trainer. Giménez-Bartlett, who in 1997 won the Feminino Lumen prize for the best female writer in Spain, has produced a dark, distinctive and surprisingly funny novel sure to appeal not just to dog lovers.
Reviewed on: 04/17/2006