Lost World by Patricia Melo (4 stars)

Lost World by Patricia Melo

Casually brutal and utterly uncompromising, this Brazilian noir thriller is nerve-shreddingly compelling from start to grizzly finish. A sequel to The Killer, Patricia Melo’s 1995 novel, Lost World picks up the story of amoral ex-contract killer Maiquel who has been a fugitive from justice for ten years. Emerging from the shadows into his old hunting ground of Sao Bernardo, Maiquel goes in search of his ex-girlfriend who ran off with a preacher, taking Maiquel’s young daughter with her.

Melo’s prose is razor sharp and pared to the bone as we travel around the horrific netherworlds of Brazil then Bolivia, every page filled with desolate, wasted landscapes and desperate, damaged characters. Violence and treachery haunt Maiquel at every turn as he struggles to escape his past, and as he relentlessly catches up with his prey, Melo creates a truly fearsome climax refreshingly free from authorial moralising. Excellent, shudder-inducing writing.

(Bloomsbury)

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