Author: Eloísa Díaz
Publication Date: 4th February 2021
BUENOS AIRES, 1981.
Argentina is in the grip of a brutal military dictatorship.
Inspector Joaquín Alzada’s work in the Buenos Aires police force exposes him to the many realities of life under a repressive regime: desperate people, terrified people and – worst of all – missing people.
Personally, he prefers to stay out of politics, enjoying a simple life with his wife Paula. But when his revolutionary brother Jorge is disappeared, Alzada will stop at nothing to rescue him.
TWENTY YEARS LATER…
The country is in the midst of yet another devastating economic crisis and riots are building in the streets of Buenos Aires.
This time Alzada is determined to keep his head down and wait patiently for his retirement. But when a dead body lands in a skip behind the morgue and a woman from one of the city’s wealthiest families goes missing, Alzada is forced to confront his own involvement in one of the darkest periods in Argentinian history – a time of
collective horror and personal tragedy.
I must confess to not being hugely knowledgeable regarding Argentina’s volatile history but I know enough to be extremely intrigued by a book that focuses on both the 1980s and 2000s. Repentance follows beleaguered Inspector Joaquín Alzada, a man with a complicated past and a jaded outlook. The narrative is split between 1981 as Joaquín deals with his revolutionary younger brother at a time when people are being ‘disappeared’ in terrifying fashion and 2001 with the country gripped on the precipice of a reckoning whilst in another economic crisis.
I really enjoyed this intense and compelling thriller. It captured the constant atmosphere of suspicion and fear present in the lives of so many living in a country frequently trapped in a state of change and unpredictable violence. I cannot imagine what it is like to live knowing that the controlling forces can make anyone disappear in such a final and ruthless manner. This is the place Alzada finds himself in during the 1981 sections. His frustration with and fear for his family is palpable in both timelines and it is this constant struggle with himself that is at the heart of Repentance. The entire book is a thorough examination of this man and how he balances his often conflicted emotions. I found him fascinating and found his relationship with his wife and brother particularly affecting.
Overall, Repentance is a sharp, well written and evocative thriller about secrecy, complicity and how far people are willing to go for both the people they love and a cause they believe in. The only tiny issue I had is that I felt the book ended a little abruptly, I could easily have read another 100 pages of this dark and tense tale! I am very much hoping this is not Inspector Alzadas’ only outing as I would love to read more from this talented author.
Thank you so much to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for inviting me on this tour and organising it. I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.