Wednesday, March 6, 2019

“The Bridesmaid” by Tom Darin Liskey

Maximiliano Santillan is a private investigator. He was once a policeman, a very good policeman, in fact. But he made the career mistake of testifying against a crooked cop, who was wrongly acquitted. Santillan was banished to a remote post. He’s now a private eye, and he’s worried about his daughter and her involvement with drugs.

Then comes the call – from a former police associate. He’s told virtually nothing except to meet the car being sent to get him. He’s taken to what looks like a police raid on a brothel, except there are no television cameras or reporters or even onlookers as is common with police raids. Inside, he sees policeman gathering and counting wads of counterfeit money. And there’s a dead woman, the death badly staged to look like a heroin overdose. 

Tom Darin Liskey
The woman turns out to be the adopted daughter of the former admiral rumored to be the next head of government. Santillan’s mission: find out who killed her. Even if the admiral doesn’t want to know.

The Bridesmaid by Tom Darin Liskey is a novella set in a country that sounds very much like Argentina, complete with a former military junta that “disappeared” thousands of people and was brought down by a war over control of islands in the South Atlantic. That history looms large in the story, demonstrating that the past is never really the past, that it’s always with us.

For almost 10 years, Liskey worked as a journalist in South America. His stories, articles, and photographs have been published in such magazines and journals as Crime FactoryDriftwood PressMount IslandBiostories, Hobo Camp ReviewRoadside FictionBlue Hour MagazineMidwestern Gothic, and others. 

The Bridesmaid falls into the category of noir mysteries, and it’s exceedingly well done. Liskey sets the atmosphere and the characters just right for this story, and adds a few twists and turns involving a disfigured war hero and an activist nun. My only regret is that it wasn’t a full-length novel; perhaps the author can be prevailed upon to write more Santillan stories.


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