Monday, July 5, 2010
Review of Water-Blue Eyes by Domingo Villar (Eurocrime, 2008; Spanish 2006)
There is much to admire in Villar’s writing style, which is concise and expressive, and Water-Blue Eyes is a pleasurable read. Leo Caldas, as the disillusioned and weary inspector, and his assistant, the explosive Rafael Estevez, are engaging characters, though somewhat enigmatic due the general lack of back story. In this sense, Villar does a great job at following the ‘show don’t tell’ maxim, but the result is I never really felt I got to know the characters that well beyond broad pointers. I think this is partly a function of length. At 167 pages, space delimits the extent to which one gets to know the principal characters using this storytelling technique. The length also restricts the plot, which is interesting but relatively straightforward, that has a twist at the end. The plot could have been fleshed out a bit more, especially the ending which is wrapped up conveniently and too quickly. Basically, I wanted more! Whilst I did find elements of the book a little disappointing, Water-Blue Eyes has enough positives – such as it style, dry wit and sense of place - to make me want to read the next book in the series. Indeed, my sense is that Caldas and Estevez hold much promise as a fictional partnership, and Villar’s assured writing will make for an engaging and entertaining read. For other reviews see Petrona, The Game’s Afoot, and International Noir.