Told from multiple perspectives and filled with macabre details and fantastical elements that are interwoven throughout the narrative, The Black Minutes is an electrifying and highly original novel from a brilliant new voice.
When a young journalist named Bernardo Blanco is killed in the fictional Mexican port city of Paracuán, investigation into his murder reveals missing links in a disturbing multiple homicide case from twenty years earlier. As police officer Ramón “el Macetón” Cabrera discovers, Blanco had been writing a book about a 1970s case dealing with the murder of several young schoolgirls in Paracuán by a man known as el Chacal. Cabrera realizes that whoever killed Blanco wanted to keep the truth about el Chacal from being revealed, and he becomes determined to discover that truth. The Black Minutes chronicles both Cabrera’s investigation into Blanco’s murder and detective Vicente Rangel’s investigation of the original el Chacal case. Both narratives expose worlds of corruption, from cops who are content to close the door on a case without true justice to powerful politicians who can pay their way out of their families’ crimes.
The book is full of dark twists and turns, and populated by a cast of captivating—and mostly corrupt—characters. An alcoholic priest serves as the link between the generations, the only one who knows the truth behind all of the murders. Reporters dig as deep as they can, their trust difficult to gauge, and Rangel finds himself in love with one. Bernardo Blanco and, later, Ramón Cabrera are the only ones who break through the corruption and come to know the whole truth, a truth that unfurls by degrees into a complex and surreal mystery.