Monday, June 12, 2017

An Easy Thing by Paco Ignacio Taibo II

First Sentence:  “One more, Boss,” said Hector Belascoarán Shayne.
What’s a PI to do when he needs money?  He accepts three separate cases.  In the first, he is hired to search for Emiliano Zapata, the nation’s folk hero and leader of the Mexican Revolution thought to still be alive.  The second involves a killing in a corrupt factory.  The third is to find who is sending threats to the daughter of a former porn starlet. 
What seems to be a stereotypical beginning turns out to be anything but.  How can one not be compelled to read on?
Taibo’s use of language is such a pleasure to read.  His use of metaphors—“After hesitating for a moment, he got up from the bed and walked wearily, like a man with a pair of incompatible ideas crowding the space inside his head.”—and observations—“if there’s one thing this country won’t forgive you for, it’s that you take your life too seriously, that you can’t see the joke.”—both delight and give one pause to consider.  Even his use of chapter headings is perfectly done.
Hector is a character one recognizes but isn’t one of whom one is tired.  Taibo has a fascinating way of working in bits of Hector’s background as we good.  The more we learn, the more intrigued one becomes to know him better—“…it occurred to him that what he liked to call his professional demeanor was no more than a reflection of the confused state of his own life.”  Hector’s office mates, and the nighttime radio DJ, add further to the interesting dimensions of Hector’s character.
There is nothing like a climactic moment one probably should have seen coming but didn’t.  The events which follow are extremely gratifying. 
“An Easy Thing” is one of those wonderful books that make one wonder why you’ve not read this author sooner, but makes one determined to make up for that lapse.

AN EASY THING -(PI-Hector Belascoarán Shayne-Mexico-Contemp) – Ex
      Taibo II, Paco Ignacio – 1st in series
      Poisoned Pen Press – March 2002

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