“This compelling read is more than a standard mystery; it interrogates the way moments of violence in Colombia’s past have retained their power long after they are over.”


This book is currently short listed for the Mann Booker International Prize. This book is the story of Assassination of certain political figures in Columbia, SA, and the conspiracy theories that surrounded them.

The main two killings here are about General Rafael Uribe Uribe in October 1914, and Presidential hopeful Jorge Eliécer Gaitán in 1948.

The man who is obsessed with these killings is Carlos Carballo. He is pushing for further investigations into these killings, and is trying to convince authors to take up the cause. One of the authors he is trying to convince is an author named Vásquez. The author has placed himself as a character in the story.

The story of obsession with conspiracy theories is a well known one through the world. Here in the USA the JFK assassination still carries a hefty amount of people who refuse to believe the official version, so it is easy to understand the dedication and purpose someone can have in their search for the truth.

Here we get an excellent overview of the killings and the history of the theories that continue to surround them. Through flashbacks and books within the book the stories unfold into an absorbing look into the mind of Carballo, including the lengths he will go though to get his message across. When we learn the reason for his compulsion we fully understand his desperate need to find the truth.

The author is a terrific writer, and at 509 pages is a longer than usual length for his books, yet he holds your interest as you slowly but surely learn about and feel the frustration of this man who must find the truth.



Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 9th May 2019

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Richard Franco