The Invisible Guardian - Dolores Redondo, Emma Gregory

I'm not sure what to make of this book yet. 

 

I picked it up because it was promoted as the best example of Spanish 'literary crime fiction'. I also liked that it was set in Baztan and was said to draw on Basque traditions and history. 

 

The premise is the inspector Amaia Salazar is sent back to her home village of Elizondo to investigate an apparent serial killer.

 

So far, most of the focus has been on Salazar and her family (husband, sisters, aunt, strained childhood relationship with her, now dead, mother,) than on the investigation of the crimes.

 

I'm glad about this. I've become averse to reading books about men killing lots of woman in some bizarre ritual that meets their needs. Too often, they lead to a kind of twisted empathy between the investigator and the killer and the women become plot devices or the raw material for the killer's 'art'.

 

The prose is calm. This doesn't smell like a thriller. It feels more like a troubled, discontented but successful woman re-examining herself in the mirror presented by returning home in a role that carries authority and brings conflict. I don't feel I'm really in Salazar's head yet, although I'd like to be.

 

I do like the sense of place, particularly that sense of silent sentience you get when you're alone in an ancient woodland.