Review: EVERY BITTER THING by Leighton Gage

Every Bitter ThingI tend not to read book blurbs these days (fear of spoilers) and often by the time I get around to reading a specific book from my TBR mountain I’ve long forgotten the review or recommendation that prompted me to choose it. So any impressions I make when starting are based on my knowledge of the author’s previous work and any sensibility generated by the cover or title. Which is why when I saw the title of this book I expected something with a religious theme. Gage has dabbled in the territory before and one of the legacies I carry from 12 years of Catholic school is a memory full of biblical passages so did recall the proverb about the hungry soul for who every bitter thing is sweet. As it happens the book has almost nothing at all to do with religion (it does feature a priest in a minor role). Though the title is still very fitting.

This fourth installment of the Mario Silva series is just as good as its predecessors. I am always impressed when authors can maintain a high quality of writing and storytelling but am particularly chuffed when can do so while making some changes to their style. The most noticeable thing about this book for me is that it is fairly light in its tone. There is some violence (and a pretty high body count) but this book does not take readers into quite such dark subject areas as its predecessors and, because all things are relative, it feels almost jaunty by comparison. This sensibility is aided by the ever-present humour which is always particularly evident in the excellent dialogue. I always think I’d rather like to be a member of Mario Silva’s team.

It is, in short, the story of a series of brutal murders which at first appear unconnected. But, as any crime reader worth their salt would know, even once a connection has been identified a resolution cannot be had until a lot of investigative shoe leather has been expended. Although it would never be mistaken for a cosy novel EVERY BITTER THING definitely has overtones of the old-fashioned whodunnit with its finite cast of suspects that gets smaller as they are murdered one-by-one.

Although this book doesn’t need to reach into the darker corners of Brazilian society it still exudes the strong sense of place that I have come to expect from this series set in Gage’s adopted home. In particular the political environment and connections and rivalries with neighbouring countries let us know this is not a story taking place in one of crime fiction’s more usual haunts.

In the end I suppose this is a book about justice, or the lack of it, and depicts someone dealing with a complicated kind of grief in a way that is understandable if not justifiable. It’s a rollickingly good story to boot and reminded me anew what a loss the crime genre suffered when Leighton Gage passed away two years ago. I’d recommend this book to all but especially if you’ve been wanting to try the author’s novels but were a bit worried about the level of darkness. This book could easily be read without having read the earlier novels (though I do recommend them too).

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

I have reviewed the three earlier books in this series BLOOD OF THE WICKED, BURIED STRANGERS and DYING GASP

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Publisher Soho Crime [2011]
ISBN 9781569479988
Length 218 pages
Format eBook (ePub)
Book Series #4 in the Mario Silva series

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5 Responses to Review: EVERY BITTER THING by Leighton Gage

  1. Bernadette – I really like the way you describe this book: a change of hairstyle. I really like it too when authors can do a few things differently, yet still maintain a consistently strong series. And you’re right: Gage did that. I must remember to spotlight one of his novels.


  2. Kay says:

    Thank you so much for reminding me that I want to start reading Leighton Gage’s books. I meant to, but well, haven’t. I’ve now gone and put BLOOD OF THE WICKED on my Kindle. I remember hearing that this talented author had passed away a while back. How sad. Thanks for talking about EVERY BITTER THING and sharing your experience!


  3. MarinaSofia says:

    I read Blood of the Wicked and really enjoyed it, and I’ve been meaning to revisit Leighton Gage ever since. This has given me the much-needed impetus (read: kick up the …)


  4. Belle Wong says:

    I haven’t been in the mood lately for darker reads, so this one sounds perfect. I just checked my library and the cover they have is definitely a lot darker than the one here! Adding this one to my list.


  5. tracybham says:

    I am so glad you liked this book. I liked the first one very much but it was very violent and dark and I was afraid I would not like later books in the series. I have #2 and this one, so I am glad to hear that they are worthwhile reads in your opinion.


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