Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Vine in the Blood, Leighton Gage's Latest

Today, I have invited my friend and splendid writer Leighton Gage to drop by and tell us about his latest, A Vine in the Blood, which launched last week in the United States and Canada. Leighton lives in a small town in Brazil and writes fascinating police procedurals set in that country. I already have my copy. Once you’ve read the reviews, you’ll want one, too!

Annamaria Alfieri

A Vine in the Blood, the fifth in the Chief Inspector Mario Silva series, is set against the background of the soccer World Cup.

But you don’t have to like the sport to enjoy the book.

Glenn Harper, writing in International Noir Fiction, put it best:

I'm not a fan of football/soccer, and the (subject matter) gave me a little pause – but I needn't have worried. The book is in part about the social phenomenon of football, but not really about the game.

A Vine in the Blood begins with the kidnapping of Juraci Santos, the mother of Tico Santos, Brazil’s greatest striker. And the timing of her abduction couldn’t be worse: only days remain before the beginning of the tournament.

Tico is distraught, and completely off his game. If Silva and his team can’t recover the lady in time, the team may have to play without him.

And that would put them in grave danger of suffering a humiliating defeat by their greatest rival.

Suspects abound, and they run the gamut from Tico’s gold-digging girlfriend, to his team’s manager, to a big-time gangster, to a cabal of Argentineans.

There are twists and turns, there’s not a little humor, and I think you’re going to like it.

But I’m not good at blowing my own horn.

Fortunately, a few folks have already stepped-up to speak on my behalf:

Gage knows Brazil well and has a cast of characters so amusing and so skillfully constructed that this novel is irresistible. — Toronto Globe and Mail.

Coincidence, that. The Globe and Mail used exactly the same word (irresistible) that the New York Times used to describe Every Bitter Thing, my last book.

The trade press was also very complimentary:

Rising above Brazilian brutality, corruption, and bribery with uncommon wit and the help of his colorful, appealing colleagues, (Silva) scores a winning goal in an enormously complex kidnap payoff scheme. — Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

And Dana King, writing in the New Mystery Reader, had this to say:

Let’s take a moment to celebrate excellence…(“A Vine in the Blood” is) a great story, well told.

Dana’s review is a brilliant piece of writing, from a guy who knows the mystery genre inside out. If you have a moment, I suggest you go there and read what he had to say in its entirety: in the blood

At the end, you’ll find a link to an interview he did with me.

Another fine piece of journalism is the lengthy, well-written and well-researched review James Thompson published in the New York Journal of Books:

Here’s an extract:

Mr. Gage is a master of the procedural who paints with a fine brush, using the tools he needs to craft a fine novel — and no more.

Want to sample the book? You can do so on the book’s Barnes and Noble page, where they’ve included an entire first chapter:
(Scroll down and click on “

Finally, for those of you who are into first lines, here it is:

Less than an hour after Juraci Santos was unceremoniously dumped into the back seat of her kidnappers’ getaway car, Luca Vaz crept through her front gate and poisoned her bougainvilleas.

Thanks, Annamaria, for inviting me.

Love this blog!

Leighton Gage


  1. I'm not a sports fan, but this sounds like an interesting read.

  2. In Belgium and the Netherlands we have the first 3 books translated in Dutch. We are fond of the way L. Gage describes his Brazil!
    Now we are waiting for 'Every bitter Thing'.
    Somebody called the books 'Gage turners'!
    And 'A Vine in the Blood': let it come to us!!