A gang of assassins draw Da Silva into Brazil’s rugged interior
George Chaney may have been raised in the roughest neighborhoods of the United States, but he’s never been anywhere quite as dangerous as Paraíso. Although booming with petrodollars, this rugged city in the Brazilian wastelands is still a frontier town at heart. On the run from the mob, Chaney comes here in search of sanctuary. He will find that though the city’s name means paradise, its reality is much closer to hell.
Chaney is found gunned down execution style, with a tag around his neck that reads Esquadrão de Morte—death squad. He’s the fourth victim of this gang of killers, and his death attracts the attention of Captain José Da Silva, an Interpol detective who knows that life is cheap on the Brazilian frontier, and death comes in many forms.
About the author
Robert L. Fish, the youngest of three children, was born on August 21, 1912, in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended the local schools in Cleveland and went to Case University (now Case Western Reserve), from which he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. He married Mamie Kates, also from Cleveland, and together they have two daughters. Fish worked as a civil engineer, traveling and moving throughout the United States. In 1953 he was asked to set up a plastics factory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He and his family moved to Brazil, where they remained for nine years. He played golf and bridge in the little spare time he had. One rainy weekend in the late 1950s, when the weather prohibited him from playing golf, he sat down and wrote a short story that he submitted to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. When the story was accepted, Fish continued to write short stories. In 1962 he returned to the United States; he took one year to write full time and then returned to engineering and writing. His first novel, The Fugitive, won an Edgar Award for Best First Mystery. When his health prevented him from pursuing both careers, Fish retired from engineering and spent his time writing. His published works include more than forty books and countless short stories. Mute Witness was made into a movie starring Steve McQueen.
Fish died February 23, 1981, at his home in Connecticut. Each year at the annual Mystery Writers of America dinner, a memorial award is presented in his name for the best first short story. This is a fitting tribute, as Fish was always eager to assist young writers with their craft.
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