Becky’s One Hundred and Ninety-Seventh Book Review: “The Summer of Dead Toys” by Antonio Hill

“The Summer of Dead Toys” by Antonio Hill was a very strange book. It is the debut novel by Antonio Hill introducing Inspector Hector Salgado, set in Barcelona. When we meet Inspector Salgado he has just been taken off an investigation after beating up a suspect. The more we get to know the inspector, the more obvious it is that he has a problem controlling his emotions. “A burst of rebellion was still pricking him in the chest: an absurd, break-my-balls thing, decidedly immature for a cop just turned forty-three.” (The Summer of Dead Toys, pg 20). Throughout the novel the inspector has moments like this where his anger is building up inside of him and he is barely able to keep it under control.

Inspector Salgado is charged with investigating the death of a young man, whom by the looks of it, simply fell to his death after having too much to drink. It is only at the insistence of the boy’s mother that the case is being looked into at all. For this case he is given a rookie to work with and makes it clear that he doesn’t enjoy having her along for the ride. I didn’t feel anything much about her. She wasn’t a character that made a lot of sense to me. There was another female cop that I kept thinking was her and it ended up getting very confusing.

That was the one thing that I didn’t really enjoy about this book was how many different people were telling the story. Usually, I favor that sort of writing. It allows the reader to see into multiple characters’ minds and live in their worlds. But it felt like too much in “The Summer of Dead Toys”. There were simply too many characters trying to tell their story and make themselves relevant to the novel when they really weren’t. It was just unnecessary and rather confusing. With so many different characters telling their stories it became difficult to remember who was who and how they were related. It felt like Antonio Hill was trying to make too many things happen in his novel.

Would I recommend this book? Yes and no. On the one hand, for the majority of the book I was interested in what was happening. I was trying to solve the puzzle right along side the Inspector. But there were parts that were on the dull side and the sheer volume of characters in the novel really took away from the story. It also seemed like there was too much that the author was trying to make happen in one book. There was a bit of a supernatural implication at one point and it was almost put in as an afterthought. This took away from the book. I could see myself picking up another book by this author, and I really did like Inspector Salgado but I don’t think this book would appeal to a huge audience. It was at times slow, and that is not what I expect when going into a book with “A Thriller” written after the title. It was an okay book, but not something I would rave about.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

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