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The Night Watchman

When can a single crime also tell us a great deal about the destiny of a nation?
July 6, 2012… Chief Inspector Henrique Monroe, who was born and raised in rural Colorado, is summoned to a luxurious Lisbon mansion to investigate the brutal slaying of a well-connected construction magnate named Pedro Coutinho. The handsome 59-year-old has been shot and bound, and gagged so cruelly that he choked to death before bleeding out from the bullet wound in his gut. On the wall behind him, five Japanese characters – ディアーナ – have been written in his own blood. After questioning his guilt-ridden daughter, Henrique comes to believe that Coutinho might have been killed for defending the troubled teenager from the violent sexual advances of a teacher or family friend. And yet files on a hidden flash-drive that Henrique soon finds indicate the victim might have been silenced by any one of a number of shady politicians whom he bribed in order to win lucrative contracts.
Henrique has occasionally alienated his police colleagues with his rude but stunningly observant behavior at crime scenes, and as he investigates Coutinho’s murder, these erratic episodes grow more frequent. We come to learn that Henrique was abused as a young boy, and that an extraordinarily perceptive and resourceful guardian took over his mind and body when the mistreatment became too difficult to bear, in order to protect him and his younger brother, Ernie. As Henrique struggles to keep the walls of his identity from crumbling, a violent twist in his investigation changes his life forever, destroying any chance he has of continuing to keep his alter-ego a secret...
In this uniquely moving portrait of a troubled police detective, Zimler has created a chilling psychological mystery that explores the ongoing effects of child abuse. Along the way, he has also given us a sensitive portrait of contemporary Portugal, a country just waking up to how badly it has been betrayed by a corrupt elite and suffering under the weight of its own historical errors.

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