Donde los escorpiones

Donde los escorpiones

Novel , 2016


Pages: 352

9th Book of Bevilacqua and Chamorro Series

Madrid, July 2014. Civil Guard lieutenant Bevilacqua is a veteran criminal investigator. In his fifties, with more past than future in his career, he has just messed up spectacularly in his pursuit of a killer in a shanty town on the outskirts of the capital. He is miraculously rescued by colleagues of his, but his quarry escapes him.

He has barely emerged from this disaster, with his patrol car and his pride battered, when he takes a call from his former boss, General Pereira, who is now responsible for the Spanish Civil Guard’s international operations. The general tells him that things can always get worse, even the harshness of the place where he has to do his job. As a proof, he orders Bevilacqua to leave at once for the Spanish base at Herat, six thousand kilometres away in Afghanistan, where a sinister incident has occurred. The dead body of a Spanish officer has been found in his bed, with his throat cut. Beside him, the murder weapon: a folding sickle typical of those used by the Afghans to harvest the poppies that are used to produce the drug that provides the country with its main source of income. Is the murderer an infiltrated Taliban fighter? That is one possibility, but the crime might have a different origin altogether, because the attack does not correspond to the usual Taliban tactic of using a suicide bomber to cause maximum damage. And this folding sickle is a souvenir that can be purchased for ten euros in the market run every Sunday at the base: almost all the Spanish military personnel take one home in their backpack. The killer could be anyone.

Bevilacqua takes with him his battle-hardened female sergeant Chamorro (who has just turned forty), corporal Salgado (somewhat older, but still in full possession of her womanly wiles) and officer Arnau (reaching the end of his twenties). The lieutenant and his team have to leave on the first available plane in order to investigate on the ground in Afghanistan who the dead man was and the reasons behind his death.

During their investigation, in the searing heat and dust of the Afghan summer, they meet a fascinating array of characters and to dig into the dead man’s past. It soon becomes obvious that this veteran of several military operations outside Spain (euphemistically known as peace-keeping or reconstruction missions), had more than one skeleton in his cupboard, and leads them to an unexpected and bewildering climax that will test them to their limits in this strange, complex scenario.