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The Summer of Dead Toys: A Thriller (Inspector Salgado) Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Salgado
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; Reprint edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0770435874
  • ISBN-13: 978-0770435875
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,120,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Hill’s first novel introduces Hector Salgado, a soulful Barcelona police inspector who is coping reasonably well with being single again. His wife has left him for a woman, and he’s unofficially on “probation” for savagely beating a shady doctor who worked for a group of child traffickers. Hector’s tack-sharp assistant, Leire, is young, ambitious, and newly pregnant. She’s planning on having the baby but has no idea how she can work and raise a child alone. It’s a good thing that the novel is heavily character-based, because the plot, which begins simply with the apparently accidental death of the 19-year-old son of a prominent family, quickly darts off in many different directions, including drug dealing, voodoo, family dysfunction, deceit, and pedophilia. Each thread introduces new, carefully drawn characters, all harboring secrets. Sadly, Barcelona doesn’t receive equal attention. One of the world’s most fascinating cities, Barcelona deserves better than easy nods to summer heat, pickpockets, and the revelry of the San Juan holiday. Perhaps Hill will hit his stride with a second Salgado novel. --Thomas Gaughan


“This dark thriller is an amazing debutacutely observed and meticulously crafted. Long live Hector Salgadoa thoroughly human detective-protagonist. I look forward to meeting him again.” —John Verdon, bestselling author of Let the Devil Sleep
“Salgado’s rich inner life and Hill’s talents at plotting and prose bode well for a successful series.” Publishers Weekly

“Penetrating, atmospheric. . . . The plot is first-rate, with plausible twists and revelations [and] the book transcends the mystery genre with its focus on the dark secrets families keep. . . . Thoroughly compelling.” —Kirkus

“Reminiscent of Ian Rankin's John Rebus or Jo Nesbø's Harry Hole, Héctor Salgado is an intriguing new sleuth that crime fiction fans will want to follow as they explore the gritty side of another European city.” —Library Journal

Praise from the UK 
“Hugely impressive. . . . Hill’s book seems to have arrived fully-formed with confidence and authority, peeling back the skeins of deceit and betrayal in a most satisfying fashion.” The Independent
“Entertaining.” The Times
“A welcome corrective to snow-blindness from too much Nordic noir. . . . Excellent characterization, a sympathetic and engaging protagonist, and plenty of plot twists, with a cliffhanger ending that sets things up nicely for the next in the series.” The Guardian

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
The entire novel is a satisfying work of fiction.
T.B. Grant
There are also way too many unnecessary backstories for minor characters.
OutlawPoet - Down the Rabbit Hole
The characters are very well drawn and Salgado is likeable and very real.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T.B. Grant TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Published by Crown Publishers, 2013
Hardcover Edition, 355 pages
Genre: Thriller

Told from the perspective of various POV, Antonio Hill's debut novel, SUMMER OF DEAD TOYS, is more a character study than a thriller. But Hill knows how to tell a story. With short, punchy sentences, the narrative moves along at a nice steady rhythm, blending edge-of-your-seat suspense, involving a young man falling from a windowsill to his death, to jealous and betrayal--and more murder, to the psychological effects of a hot languid summer in Barcelona.

Not your typical commercial thriller, SUMMER OF DEAD TOYS imbues diverse characterizations, meticulous writing, realistic, gripping storytelling and a unique literary style that keeps the narrative thoroughly engaging.

The book was not a struggle to read, and once you begin, it is quite difficult to put it down. The protagonist, Inspector Hector Salgado, is a sophisticated forty something police officer. He struggles with his uncertain future and life as a detective. The moments when he visits a much younger therapist are the most fun to read. Hill writes with confidence, and readers delve into the mind of Inspector Salgado while he is away from his grueling work as a police officer.

The entire novel is a satisfying work of fiction. I look forward to Hill's next Inspector Salgado read, THE GOOD SUICIDES, coming in June 17, 2014.

T.B. Grant
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patto TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Inspector Hector Salgado is in trouble. He's suspended for beating up a creepy voodoo doctor who was some how connected with a human trafficking operation. While waiting for the trouble to blow over, and for Salgado to work on his rage with a psychologist, Salgado's boss assigns him unofficially to a case that just needs to be tactfully closed. A young man from a good Barcelona family accidentally fell out a window and died.

But Salgado's partner on the case is Leire Castro, a very bright young woman who intends to be thorough. She starts finding things out that suggest a more sinister side to the "accident." Women detectives really shine in this book, while Salgado takes a back seat and struggles with his issues. I found this fun. In any event, Salgado does finally have a brilliant insight that cracks the case.

The criminal activity in this book is multi-layered. And it all takes place among the best Barcelona families. Plenty of spoiled rich kids and arrogant parents, with some lowlifes thrown in for contrast. The bizarre title of the book relates to a grim family secret.

Although Salgado is under a cloud in this story, he has an appealing personality, a thirst for justice - and enough complications in his personal life to promise well for future books in the series. Salgado is divorced, and there's a juicy story behind that too.

I wouldn't call this book action-packed; rather it's packed with surprises. No gunplay or car chases, but rather a civilized mystery with believable characters and understandable human messes. Barcelona with its brutal summer heat makes an exotica setting. I look forward to more books featuring the angry, lonely Inspector Salgado.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bookczuk on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Barcelona is climatically on the other end of the spectrum from the settings of the Nordic Noir I've been reading, but Antonio Hill packed a similar wallop of characters, mystery, into the pages of The Summer of Dead Toys, plus added the promise of a new series/Inspector to check out.

Hector Salgado, an Argentinian, now a inspector in Barcelona but now on probation after an episode violence in one of his cases, is asked to unofficially look into the apparently accidental death of a well-to-do young man. But Salgado discovers the case not to be as clear-cut as assumed. His journey to discovery takes him through some of the shadier parts of Barcelona life, the areas tourists will probably never see. The story unfolds with craft, skill, and intelligence. The descriptions of Barcelona painted the city in my mind's eye. The book kept me interested, with two main threads of action, realistic characters, and enough tension to make me nibble a fingernail or two. And, for those who like a little noir/darkness in their reading, there's enough of that seamy underbelly exposed to satisfy.

For me, the book is a clue in itself, that this is a series to keep in mind for future reading. There are enough interesting interactions between characters that will probably be recurring, enough realism, enough trueness in the relationships. Salgado, himself, seems to be that intelligent, flawed central character, the kind of which I like to follow in stories. The book, itself, is translated, but interestingly enough, the author is the actual translator, as that's what he does when he's not writing mystery/detective novels. While there is a little roughness in the telling of the tale, I think that will smooth out with time and more writing.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In this debut novel by translator-by-trade Antonio Hill, Barcelona police Inspector Hector Salgado has just returned from his native Buenos Aires and a month-long forced leave. Hector was ordered to make himself scarce for long enough for the bad press to die down from a scandal born of Hector's savage beating of Doctor Omar, a creepy voodoo figure in a human trafficking case.

Though Hector has returned to the force, his boss, Superintendent Savall, orders him to stay in the background, and gives him an inconsequential assignment. A rich young man, Marc, from a wealthy and influential family fell or jumped from a window and was killed, and the young man's mother has been harassing the police, insisting on an investigation. Hector is the perfect choice for the job, along with a brand-new, but promising detective, Leire Castro.

Leire Castro is the one who first notices some anomalies in the scene of Marc's death, and as she and Hector investigate further, they learn more and more about the dark underbelly of some of Barcelona's most influential families, both past and present. Does Marc's death have something to do with the death of a young girl years ago, at the summer camp where she and Marc were friends?

When Doctor Omar disappears and his office is found spattered with human blood, with a pig's head on his desk, Hector is under suspicion and must hope that his colleagues can solve that case before Hector loses his job and more.

Hill gives us a long look inside some aspects of Barcelona that tourists don't see. There is the world of privilege, but also human trafficking, child and spousal abuse, drugs. And we see that all those smiling Barcelona residents can also be extremely prejudiced, against South Americans, women, Africans.
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