Search This Blog

Friday 1 March 2024



This is the fourth – and final – book in Robert Wilson’s Inspector Jefe Javier Falcón detective series set primarily in Seville. The Ignorance of Blood was published in 2009.

It takes place in 2006 when a Russian mafia man is involved in a fatal traffic accident. In his car the police find a bag bulging with euros and video discs – stolen from a mafia gang, apparently.

Falcón is still trying to get to the bottom of a bomb explosion – was it terrorists or some other cause?  He is advised not to obsess about it. There are other cases to investigate: ‘Personal crusades, Javier, are not advisable in police work. Every old people’s home in Spain probably has a retired detective gaping from the windows, his mind still twisted around a missing girl, or a poor bludgeoned boy. Don’t go there. Nobody expects it of you’ (p41).

The Russian villains are particularly unpleasant – and seem to be competing gangs. ‘The veneer, though, was only an expensive suit thick, as Viktor Belenki was a violent brute with access to a rage so incandescent that even Revnik’s most psychopathic henchmen were afraid of him’ (p45).

The video discs implicate a number of very important individuals in the city and elsewhere; there are connections to shady constructors and financiers. Two mafia gangs want those discs.

Falcón covers a lot of familiar ground, including Atocha rail station, where three bombs were exploded on March 11, 2004; other bombs exploded on four trains; those responsible were members of al-Qaeda; over 190 people were killed and over 2,000 injured. (I recall it well; we were living in Spain at the time). However, the bomb explosion Falcón is investigating is not believed to be connected to that atrocity.

Still topical now, Falcón is faced with individuals being radicalised by Islamists. ‘Radical Islam was not something you changed your mind about. Once admitted to the close fraternity and their secrets there was no walking away. They wouldn’t let you’ (p81). Indeed, anyone joining becomes a ‘lost soul, walking a world of death, destruction and martyrdom’ (p86).

Falcón is drawn into the turf war between Russian factions when Dario, the son of Consuelo, his lover, is kidnapped. Are the kidnappers Russian or Islamists?

Along the way, he is faced with an imprisoned judge, a female sculptor in a bikini, and a Moroccan friend engaged in spying on an Islamist group for the Spanish security service. There are violent deaths, gruesome deaths, and a convoluted mystery that must be solved in Morocco.

Falcón has previously suffered from a breakdown, but now he is stressed and stretched to the point where not only is his job at risk, but also his life. Some chapters end with a nail-biting cliff-hanger.

The descriptions of Seville, the characters and the emotions are well delineated with powerful writing.

Although there are references to previous Falcón novels, the book can be read as a standalone. However, the Falcón books in order are: The Hidden Assassins, The Blind Man of Seville, The Silent and the Damned and The Ignorance of Blood.

No comments: