Review: La playa de los ahogados (Domingo Villar)

This is not the first time that Domingo Villar has stepped into the shoes of Inspector Leo Caldas. With Ojos de agua ( Siruela, 2006) the author already introduced us to this character. In the second instalment, La playa de los ahogados ( Siruela, 2016) the author once again mastered a genre he knows well: the detective novel. However, in addition to its magnificent plot, the novel is a marvellous journey along the Galician coast as well as through its fishing traditions, its gastronomy and the temperament of its people. An exciting journey through Galician lands to tell us a story of suspense perfectly spun by its author.

Book review and summary

la playa de los ahogados

Justo Castelo, a fisherman, is washed up on a Galician beach. At first everything points to drowning while he was fishing. However, his hands are tied and, although this seems to be a common practice for suicides, the coroner begins to find inconsistencies that make him suspect that Castelo’s death may have been a homicide

Inspector Leo Caldas, who is not exactly going through one of his best moments, will be in charge, together with his colleague Estévez, of carrying out the investigations that will lead him to immerse himself in the seafaring atmosphere of a village whose inhabitants are reluctant to reveal their suspicions. Suspicions that are too unusual to be true.

La playa de los ahogados is a novel that knows how to keep up the pace, with plot twists and an ending that doesn’t disappoint

The novel is gripping from the start, capable of maintaining the intrigue right to the end. The characters are very well profiled and with a good representation of the superstitions that often accompany them, the reader is immersed in the atmosphere of the Galician coast. Domingo Villar deals with the environment of the fish markets, the customs of the sailors and the hard work they carry out, often risking their lives.

Domingo Villar’sLa playa de los ahogados (The Beach of the Drowned) presents a very well elaborated plot. It is written in simple, light and easy to read prose and set in an always wonderful Galicia. In short, totally recommendable.

La playa de los ahogados and its adaptation

The novel also has a film. La playa de los ahogados ( 2015) was directed by Geraldo Herrero, responsible, among others, for Los aires difíciles, El misterio Galíndez and Malena es un nombre de tango. The film’s cast includes Carmelo Gómez, Antonio Garrido, Celia Freijeiro and Luis Zahera. In addition to adapting the novel fairly faithfully, the film has the added bonus of its beautiful photography: the marvellous Galician landscapes where it was shot. Conclusion: Herrero’s film does not disappoint.

The author Domingo Villar

Domingo Villar (Vigo, 1971) is responsible for the detective saga starring Inspector Leo Caldas, which began with Ojos de agua (Eyes of Water) in 2006 and was followed by La playa de los ahogados (The Beach of the Drowned ) (2016) and El último barco (The Last Ship ) (2019). The series has been translated into more than 15 languages and has won a large number of awards, including the Novelpol award twice, the Antón Losada Diéguez Award, the Syntagma Award, the Brigada 21 Award twice, the Frei Martín Sarmiento Award, Book of the Year from the Federation of Galician Booksellers, the Cultura Viva Award and the Pata Negra Award, granted by the University of Salamanca to the best crime novel published in Spanish

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