Energetic and inventive, Paradise In Limbo proves a satirical, smart, grown-up thriller and a must-read for fans of Aguilar’s Shafted: A Mexican Tale.
Too many thrillers are essentially machines to inject a shock into their readers every few minutes, but Aguilar gives us a novel that is rich and atmospheric and a pleasure to read for those who like a story to unfold cleverly over a full arc, instead of coming in short mindless bursts.
On this level, Paradise In Limbo reads as a joy for lovers of well-written, carefully crafted character thrillers. A thriller that depends not on chases and killings (though there are plenty of both), but on devious, greedy connivance in a country where corruption is endemic.
Underpinned by a round-robin of cynicism and deception, Aguilar assembles the strands of two inextricably linked stories and here his plot is powerfully and richly imagined, whilst successfully combining the utmost in intrigue with the utmost in realism.
Although Paradise In Limbo is structured like a thriller, and its plot, on balance, is dominated by Detective Inspector Rico Ramírez’s detective work, it is also a cautionary tale about the consequences of greed as [the journalist] Anabelle reveals a veneer of lies and here we not only grow to know the characters, Aguilar’s narrative pays due respect to their complexities and needs so we savour even the most disreputable of them and their human weaknesses.
With a medley of superb twists and turns worthy of Hitchcock, Aguilar’s framing device for Paradise In Limbo (which revolves around the bloody murder of Felipe Suárez) is ingenious and allows for a narrative that’s spiked with insight into the past dealings of Costa Rica, sharp dialogue and poignant moments on which to reflect.
A superb release from T.S. Aguilar – Paradise In Limbo is unreservedly recommended!