The rich make mistakes, the poor go to jail. This is the mantra on the streets of Manaus, a sleepy town on the edge of the Amazon rain forest that has become a transit point for the narcotics trade. Colonel Bruno Maurer has been transferred from his job as Sao Paolo Police Commander to head the Bureau of Public Security in Manaus, and when bodies start piling up, he finds himself at loggerheads with Fausto Silveira, a sleazy TV star who has made his fame by always being first on the scene at murders, and has parlayed that into a political position.
Maurer is intent on bringing him down, and he uses Julia Jones, an American freelance journalist looking to break a big narco-trafficking story to resuscitate her fading career. In Manaus, though, no one is safe.
Black River by Carmen Michael is a gritty novel about drugs, corrupt officials, sleazy politics, and journalistic overreach, set in the steamy jungles of the Amazon and the sewer-soaked streets of towns that are barely surviving. A lot of the history that created this mess is given, not in a preachy, or ‘telling’ way, but through the words and actions of the characters. Pretty good noir fiction, that’s also pretty much the ‘way it is.’
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. I give it three and a half stars.