Then there are the days you get an envelope covered with international postage stickers and it’s a nifty-looking paperback from Brazil, with really cool built-in flyleaf cover design (why don’t all paperbacks have that? brilliant!)
Even better, it turns out to be a really cool read. Admittedly, not the easiest one; the translation from Portuguese is far from perfect, and might throw some readers off. Me, language-loving weirdo that I am, I found it extra-fascinating to compare and contrast, and see how various concepts came across. I think I enjoyed that aspect as much as I enjoyed the story itself.
I think it also helped that it’s in first-person point-of-view (well, mostly; halfway through it does inexplicably switch to third for the rest of the book). Makes the tone very conversational and natural, like listening to someone who’s not a native speaker nonetheless do a great job getting their point across.
Story-wise, our protagonist, Zeca, is on the run. It’s a mess he got himself into by, in a moment of grief-stricken desperation, hiring a killer to seek revenge on his behalf. Casimir, however, turns out to be no ordinary assassin, and his interest in Zeca quickly becomes a deadly, even supernatural, obsession. To save himself and his rapidly-dwindling list of loved ones, Zeca will have to confront his own inner dark side, while trying to stay a step ahead of evil.
Most impressive of all, this is the author’s first novel, and if this is how good of a debut they’re making, the rest of us better look out! Even taking the language/translation issues into account. I’ve seen far rougher works from more experienced native English speakers. Definite kudos to the author and translator!