El alquimista impaciente

El alquimista impaciente

Novel , 2000


Premio Nadal 2000

2nd book of Bevilacqua and Chamorro Series

The protagonists of El alquimista impaciente are criminal investigator Rubén Bevilacqua and his assistant, Virginia Chamorro, who represent the new look of the Spanish Guardia Civil that has attracted a growing number of young professionals to its ranks for the first time in its history. 

The opening scene of El alquimista impaciente combines classic noir and contemporary cinematic shock: a nude bodylying face down on a motel bed, wrists bound to the bedposts, and an enormous red-rubber dildo protruding from the anus. Soon we learn that the body is that of Trinidad Soler, a middle-aged family man who worked as a radiation-safety specialist at a nuclear power plant northeast of Madrid. According to the desk clerk, the victim checked in the night before, accompanied by a stunning, tall blond woman in her early twenties with an East European accent. The body was discovered by an understandably upset and perplexed femme de chambre. The autopsy that identifies the cause of death as a heart attack partially confirms the investigators’ theory that sexual ecstasy contributed to Sr. Soler’s demise, but it also detects high levels of cocaine, bromazepam, and alcohol in the blood.

In their quest for killers, Silva places before us the sterile lives of the nouveaux riches in the fashionable foothills north of Madrid, provincial politicians on the take, arrogant, tax-cheating land developers, paranoid public-relations directors of nuclear facilities, and East European girls caught up in the lucrative sex industry in and around Madrid. In truth, it is difficult to know where detective work stops and social criticism begins, or if in Silva’s latest incursion into noir both are gratifyingly part and parcel of this exhilarating, eye-opening journey into the side alleys of contemporary Madrid.