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Tango for a Torturer Paperback – April 1, 2007
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Alberto Rios, a military torturer living the retired good life in Cuba is spotted by Aldo Bianchi, one of his former victims, who plots to frame him for a man's death. Helping him is his mistress, Bini, who's incredibly hot but also emotionally unstable.
It's set in Cuba, but Castro makes as much an appearance as George Bush would in my life. He's background noise. Instead, we're given the native's tour, of people scraping by from day to day, working at their jobs, making a little money on the side, staying out of trouble and taking time to live the good life when they can afford it.
But there's some political moments. Rios (aka Triple O) is a psychotic who made torturing political prisoners his career. Reading that he perfected his craft at Devil's Horn, Fla., and Fort Paramount, Ga., raises the point that the uses of persuasion (as Rios would put it) wasn't institutionalized by Bush, no matter what Seymour Hersh says.
Chavarria loves to take little side trips with the story. There's Dr. Azua, the defense attorney, a Cuban combination of Perry Mason and Nero Wolfe, who infallibly determines the guilt or innocence of his clients by laying hands on them. Then there's the homicide detective, Captain Bastidas, called in to investigate the hit-and-run death of a bicyclist in the rain. I can tell you much about his life, but he plays his role early on and doesn't show up again.
What would a New York editor make of this?Read more ›
I wasn’t disappointed. The book, a dark political novel about an Argentinean expatriate businessman’s plot for revenge against the man who tortured him and killed his girlfriend on behalf of the military dictatorship set in the late 1990s in Cuba, weaves one hell of a tale.
It’s definitely a yarn with seriousness of purpose rather than high-minded literature. Chavarría may name-check Borges, Homer and Donald Westlake within a few pages, but his story shares much more DNA with the work of the latter than the former two. It’s a gritty novel of weaving conspiracies and people getting in touch with their basic instincts, where the protagonist may be out for revenge for the most understandable reasons possible but is still at least in part trying to cover up his own misdeeds and deal with the evil in his own soul. Though it ends on a surprising hopeful note, the world it exists in is one where morality is cheaply bought and sold, bad men prosper by working with other bad men and justice is assured to almost no one. Compelling and thought-provoking, and comic in a black way, but it’s a novel meant to be enjoyed rather than analyzed too closely.Read more ›