It’s my stop on the “Crocodile Tears” blog tour! Bitter Lemon Press have kindly provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and a big thank you must go to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invite.
The setting: Montevideo’s Old Town, with its dark alleys, crumbling facades and watchful residents. The gig: an armoured truck robbery. The cast: Diego, a failed kidnapper with weak nerves, Ursula Lopez, an amateur criminal with an insatiable appetite, the Hobo, a notorious hoodlum with excessive self-confidence. Dr Antinucci, a shady lawyer with big plans. And finally, Leonilda Lima, a washed-out police inspector with a glimmer of faith in justice.
“Crocodile Tears” is my first experience of Uruguayan crime fiction, or any fiction from this country I think! This award winning story by Mercedes Rosende appealed to me for a few reasons and this was definitely one of them!
This book starts off in an overcrowded Uruguayan prison where a man called Diego has been charged with kidnapping of a local businessman. Diego isn’t the smartest kid on the block and it turns out that his kidnapping didn’t really go to plan when he mixed up two women with the same name. Diego’s lawyer, Antinucci, gets him out of jail with the condition that he takes part in the heist of an armoured truck.
This story was good fun and the front cover is certainly right in claiming it’s a comic caper in the style of ‘Fargo’. The translation worked well and I really enjoyed the writing style, especially the chapters in which conversations were told from just one side. There were loads of comic moments in the story and the conversational, casual narration really worked alongside this.
“I’m asking you a simple question, Diego, I’m not asking you to trace the Amazon back to its source. I just want you to answer me.”
I liked all of the quirky characters, especially the two leading ladies, Captain Leonilda Lima and Ursula Lopez. Leonilda in particular is an underestimated woman who really shines in this caper and it was great to see a crime story featuring such strong women.
I felt the story took a little while to get going and it did take me some time to get my head around everything that was happening as there’s a few strands of the story to keep track of. That said, I enjoyed how concise this story was as stories being dragged out is a frequent criticism of mine. At just 248 pages, this book packs a compact punch!
I’m really glad to hear that another story from this author is due to be translated by Bitter Lemon Press. I’m looking forward to seeing where these characters go next.
Overall rating: “Crocodile Tears” is my first crime fiction read of the year and it’s also my first read from Uruguay. I was pleasantly surprised by this comic caper and especially it’s quirky characters. A really enjoyable 4 stars from me!
Don’t forget to check out the reviews of other blogs on the tour and if you like what you’ve read about it, support the author by picking up a copy on Kindle or Paperback through Amazon UK or your local bookshop.