three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
42-Sept-Oct-2009
user_rating: 
0

A-The Ignorance of BloodAmerican author Robert Wilson is an Oxford University graduate and a Gold Dagger Award recipient (for A Small Death in Lisbon). The Ignorance of Blood is the last in a quartet set in Spain and featuring detective Javier Falcón, after The Hidden Assassins ( 3.5 of 5 Stars Mar/Apr 2007).

The Story: As chief inspector of the Seville homicide squad, Javier Falcón must oversee a mounting and highly perplexing caseload. He remains frustrated by an unsolved bombing involving a day care center, and a plan to have an old friend, Yacoub Diori, spy on Muslim extremists backfires spectacularly. Additionally, when millions of euros are found at the scene of a grisly car wreck, Falcón finds himself embroiled in a perilous turf war between members of the Russian Mafia. And if life wasn't harrowing enough, Falcón's developing relationship with Consuelo Jimenez is tossed to the sidelines after a child kidnapping hits too close to home.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 422 pages. $25. ISBN: 9780151012459

Boston Globe 4 of 5 Stars
"The plot's numerous swivels and turns border on overwhelming. ... But these flaws are worth enduring in a mystery as engaging and vivid as this one." Julie Wittes Schlack

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 4 of 5 Stars
"He is a master of the psychological noir-international, espionage-police procedural. ... With so many players, so much action and so many possible scenarios to imagine, Wilson has no trouble keeping his reader's interest." Michael Helfand

Times (UK) 4 of 5 Stars
"A fitting end to an absorbing, well-written series." Marcel Berlins

Washington Post 4 of 5 Stars
"For all the physical mayhem in Wilson's books, though, it's the psychological violence that most creepily sticks with you. ... [I]t's no wonder Falcón goes about in a constant state of heightened wonderment and suspense, just like readers of Wilson's fast-moving labyrinthine thriller." Richard Lipez

Spectator (UK) 3.5 of 5 Stars
"The plot is a Hydra; as soon as you understand one part, it sprouts another tendril in its place. The narrative is frequently confusing but there's a taste of authenticity about it, for Wilson writes with an impressive sense of inside knowledge, both about contemporary Seville and about its criminal underbelly." Andrew Taylor

Los Angeles Times 2.5 of 5 Stars
"As a stylist, he is more stolid than witty, and you find yourself yearning-fruitlessly-for a cynical, enlivening wisecrack. ... [D]o not expect to be jolted out of your semi-languorous state by a memorable metaphor or an arresting moral diversion." Richard Schickel

Critical Summary

Most critics found The Ignorance of Blood to be highly entertaining and hailed it as a successful combination of psychological fiction, police procedural, and international thriller. They also found Wilson's key characters-Javier, Consuelo, Yacoub, and even young Dario-to be expertly drawn and three-dimensional. More than one critic, however, felt Wilson had overextended himself with regard to plot lines and secondary characters; these reviewers cited an indistinguishable assortment of detectives and Mafiosi. Overall, however, most felt Wilson's final entry was a worthy, complex, and gritty read, particularly for readers who enjoy foreign settings.

First in the Quartet

The Blind Man of Seville (2003): Police procedural meets psychological thriller in the first book starring Javier Falcón. A restaurant owner is murdered while being forced to watch a video of himself with prostitutes, and there are connections between the dead man and Falcón's late father, a famous painter.