Giles Blunt is one of my favourite Canadian authors. I'm a big fan of the John Cardinal mysteries and loved his last stand alone novel No Such Creature.
Newly released from Random House, Breaking Lorca is a complete departure from earlier works.
Victor, a bookish, reluctant soldier in El Salvador is 'rescued' from death by firing squad by his uncle. His uncle, Captain Pena, is a specialist in the army - an interrogation expert. He means to school Victor in his trade. He is an expert in torture. When a suspected female rebel, Lorca, is imprisoned, Pena decides that she should be Victor's learning ground. Victor is not by nature a violent, evil man. In fact he describes himself as a coward. What will someone do to keep themself alive?
I want to warn my readers now that this is not an easy read. Descriptions and dialogue are absolutely horrific and brutal. I did have to read it in small doses. What kept me going? My faith in Giles Blunt as an author. The second part of the novel moves to America, where Victor seeks redemption from his past. But can the past ever be escaped?
What possessed Blunt to write such a novel? He was inspired by Canadian author and activist Margaret Atwood's poem "Footnote to the Amnesty Report on Torture", which imagines "a fearful man paid to clean up the torture chamber."
You can read an excerpt here.
A compelling, thought provoking narrative of what is most likely happening somewhere in the world at this moment. I was glad I chose to read til the last page.