Toni Osborne's Reviews > A Small Death in Lisbon

A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson
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Feb 04, 09

Read in May, 2008

The story begins in the 1990's in Portugal when the body of a teenaged girl is found on a beach brutally murdered. Inspector Ze Coelho and his colleague are first on the scene and begin the investigation by tracking the final days of Catalina's life where they discover her innocence was destroyed by sex, drugs and emotional abuse.

The story then backtracks to 1941 when Klaus Felsen is forced out of his Berlin factory and into the ranks of the SS. He is sent to Lisbon where his mandate is to procure at any cost wolfram an essential metal needed by the 3rd Reich. Lisbon is a hotbed of activity and the base of operation where he meets a man who plunges him into a nightmarish world of brutality...

By masterfully moving back and forth from one era to another, connections and secrets are slowly unravelled to the present day Portugal. In doing so, Coelho skilfully links the past to the murder of Caterina...

This is a remarkable and powerful fiction novel based on historical facts, beautifully structured with inspiring characters and a gripping tale full of machination. The complicated murder plot involves the life of many suspects converging on the victim. The Felsen story takes all kinds of twists and turns giving us an insight into how the Nazi paid using "Nazi Gold" and the Salazar controlled central bank.

Both Catalina and Klaus stories are interesting on their own leading readers to wonder how they tie in. Wilson drops clues along the way revealing an incredibly complex ending that is as clever as it is intricate. This novel has a lot of descriptive sex and violence which may not appeal to all readers. In whole this book was fascinating and one of the best I have read in a long time, I will definitely be checking other novels written by this author.
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