Monday, January 20, 2014

Leighton’s Legacy Novel: The Ways of Evil Men

There are cultures where the people believe that when a person dies, his soul becomes a star in the sky.  I was tempted to say “primitive cultures,” but I thought better of it.  “Primitive” in such a context sounds almost pejorative.  But of all the things I have heard or been taught about what happens to a soul after the person dies, imagining it turning into a star is the loveliest, the most comforting, the most inspiring.

This past year we lost our beloved Leighton, but he left behind a book that arrives tomorrow.  And it comes with a star.

I am sure the book will earn many stars from readers, but the one I have in mind is the one The Ways of Evil Men earned from Publisher’s Weekly.  Their starred review, a prize not given lightly, said: "The late Gage (1942–2013) weaves an engaging plot and psychologically complex characters together with a sharp-edged social commentary on the Brazilian class system; his voice will be greatly missed in the crime fiction community."

The publisher’s description of the story is pure Leighton:
“Thirty-nine natives have recently dropped dead of mysterious causes. Given the tense relationship between the Awana tribe and the white townsfolk nearby, Jade Calmon, Pará's sole government-sponsored advocate for the native population, immediately suspects foul play and takes the two remaining Awana—a father and his eight-year-old son—into her custody. But when the father is discovered holding a bloody machete next to the body of a village big-shot, just before Silva's arrival, the plot thickens. Why would a peaceful man who doesn't believe in alcohol turn into a drunken killer.”

This coming June and July, the world’s eyes will be on Brazil when the World Cup competition takes place there.  Between now and then, what I hope for is that Leighton’s legacy book will be widely read and that the star of his talent will shine even brightly than ever before.

Annamaria - Monday


  1. Well said, Annamaria. I've had the privilege of reading our great buddy's TWOEM. and it is truly an extraordinary book deserving of all the praise it's received and more. I call it a MUST BUY.

  2. I loved the first chapter of this book -- can't wait to read the rest.

    A book isn't a substitute for the person who wrote it, but at least we can still be in touch with their ideas, their loves and their passions through their words.

  3. I ordered my copy and can't wait to launch into it. Let's do all the sharing and tweeting that we can. It is what Leighton always did for us!

  4. I don't have words.
    People like you don't allow my star of 35 years fade...

  5. Replies
    1. Eide, as I said above, Leighton was the inspiration and the role model for our tribe. We owe our habits to his example. Sending you love on these proud but difficult days for you and your family.

  6. Good writing never fades. It deepens.

  7. I have just started reading The Ways Of Evil Men and am totally immersed in the story as I have been by all of Leighton's books. Brazilians must wish that the corruption and violence in the books was complete fiction and Leighton's creation Chief Inspector Mario Silva was fact.

    1. I agree. I started it last evening and had to force myself to get some sleep. And I too wonder what the poor beset Brazilians must think when they read these books. As I recall, though, Leighton did not want the books translated into Portuguese. Maybe some of the blogmates have accurate information about that. Leighton did write here from time to time about real-life martyrs to the corruption.