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No Happy Ending

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The body discovered in the bathroom of the Mexico City office of Hector Belascoaran Shayne is dressed as a Roman soldier but the history that Taibo's ``independent detective'' probes in this dark, indelible tale is considerably more recent and local. A photo of another corpse, a one-way ticket to New York City and a warning note--``Don't get involved''--draw Shayne into a case he knows nothing about, at first. He determines that the two dead men once assisted a deceased stunt artist named Zorak, who was rumored to be associated with Los Halcones, a secret government paramilitary organization responsible for many deaths during a demonstration of university students in l970. Aided by his office mates, an upholsterer, a plumber and a sewer engineer, and by his lover, ``the woman with the pony tail,'' Shayne hews to his investigative line even as he is relentlessly pursued himself. The body count mounts as the one-eyed detective, in a continuing course of car chases, shootings and close escapes (even in a commandeered bus), closes in on the politics behind the puzzle of who is after whom and why. Originally published in 1981 and seamlessly translated by Neuman, this existential tale shows off Taibo's ruminative and melancholy detective at his rawest and most surprising. Other Shayne books available in the U.S. are Some Clouds , Shadow of the Shadow and An Easy Thing . Author tour. (Sept.)

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