Grab a Snake by the Tail
Paperback | Aug 2019 | Bitter Lemon Press | 9781912242177 | 280pp | 198x130mm | GEN | AUD$22.99, NZD$27.99
*Longlisted for the CWA Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger Award 2020*
Mario Conde investigates a murder in the Barrio Chino, the rundown Chinatown of Havana. Not his usual beat, but when Conde is asked to take the case by the sultry, perfectly proportioned Police Lieutenant Patricia Chion, a frequent object of his nightly fantasies, he can’t resist.
Pedro Cuang is found hanging naked from a beam in the ceiling of his dingy room. One of his fingers has been cut off, and the outline of two arrows was carved on his chest. Was this a ritual Santería killing or a just a sordid settling of accounts among drug traffickers beginning to infiltrate Cuba in the 1980s? The Barrio Chino was once one of the largest Chinatowns in the West. Now it feels like a ghetto of uprooted families, with its derelict cemetery and boarded-up shops. The story is soaked in atmosphere: African spells cast by babalao sorcerers, deliciously smoke-filled bars, deep friendships, and beautiful women, especially Patricia Chion.
'Cuba's greatest living writer' — Washington Post