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Paperback The Little Death Book

ISBN: 1555838308

ISBN13: 9781555838300

The Little Death

(Book #1 in the The Henry Rios Mysteries Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

Henry Rios is introduced as a troubled San Francisco public defender battling alcoholism and burnout. While investigating the murder of an old friend, he traces clues back to the man's own wealthy family. It is here that we first encounter Henry Rios's struggle to maintain his faith in a legal system caught between justice and corruption, a theme that will continue throughout the series.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Well crafted first book of a series ...

I'm a follower of Harry Bosch mystery and I have yet able to find a similar tone of crime/mystery series from other authors (duly noted, I have not tried many). I tried Robert Craise, but Elvis Cole doesn't feel like Harry. So I'm long to find a hero that feels "alone" but at the same time do his job with purpose. Then, I stumbled into Michael Nava's "The Little Death". Henry Rios felt like Harry in the early days without the vengeance but similar aura of a man of his own. In this book he tried to find what truly happened to Hugh Paris, a man that he had a short relationship with, a man he cared about, when he found Hugh died in a circumstance that felt, well, wrong. Especially because Hugh confessed to Henry prior to his death, that he felt like he was being followed and somebody wanted to kill him. This book is not thick but that doesn't mean that it's less meaty. I'm very drawn into Henry's attempt to find the answers as much as his relationship with old and new friends. I think the book is really good and I'm looking forward to read the rest of the series.

Fantastic Read

The Little Death was selected by our gay book club here in Palm Springs as our March book. We thought it was wonderful. Nava kept us all guessing as to who the murderer was up until the last few pages. He also painted excellent characterizations of folks in the police department and the criminal justice system itself. Nava captured the bittersweet gay romance between the main character and the troubled young man who is murdered. This author is extremely perceptive about life in general and makes the reader constantly think. The test of good book is wanting it not to end. This book passed that test.......we give it an A+.

Good Job

Perhaps Nava's greatest accomplishment in this novel is that he makes his main character, attorney Henry Rios, compelling and so utterly human. We read as Henry endures personal and professional troubles and you actually root for him. The fact that he is gay is irrelevant; Henry could be anybody. Being gay is a part of him, but it doesn't define him, and maybe that's the best lesson anyone will take away from this novel.The book does read as if it's a first novel. Though Nava delivers an excellent characterization of Henry, other characters are not so similarly defined. Bad guys abound in this work, and at times can be confusing. Further, it's hard to believe that Henry would risk his professional career and personal sanity because a friend of his, albeit a new lover, was murdered. Henry seems to have fallen in love very quickly with Hugh Paris, the object of his affection and the murder than beings to flesh out the plot. As thoughtful and steadfast as Henry is, this seems out of character. Maybe that's the point. Love makes you question everything.

Instantly grows on the reader

The Little Death, originally published in 1986, was the first of seven Henry Rios mysteries. The final episode, published in 2001, is entitled Rag and Bone. This series has earned Michael Nava four Lambda Literary Awards, and comparisons to some of the great writers, such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Nava says he began writing The Little Death while working at the Palo Alto, California jail when he was studying for his bar exams.Henry Rios probably earns less than one-half of what he could earn in private industry as a public defender. He is gay, is an excellent lawyer, and is used to dealing with minor offenses until Hugh Paris is picked up as an alleged drunk. The police find two PCP cigarettes on Hugh, and he resists arrest. Henry was sent down from felony trials to arraignments, which means his boss thought he was burned out and needed a rest after his last murder trial. But Henry's life is about to change drastically once again when a nocturnal visit from Hugh Paris exposes Henry to love; loss; and deception:"The elegant body was as white as marble. I could see a dark blue vein running up the length of his arm, and a jagged red mark just beneath his armpit where the needle went in. There were bruises on his chest. His head rested on a kind of pillow. Death had robbed his face of its seductive animation but I recognized him."The Little Death is an exquisitely written dark little mystery that will pull at the reader's heartstrings. Henry Rios is smart, determined, and instantly grows on the reader as the kind of hero who is in keeping with today's world. Michael Nava keeps his story subtle and intelligent, and it is a joy to read. He is indeed within the ranks of the characters and plot geniuses who wrote in the first half of the twentieth century. He obviously deserves to be recognized as the great writer he is. Henry Rios is someone the reader wants to know a lot more about. Michael Nava's craftsmanship is an English major's delight. Justice would be served if Mr. Nava's name appeared on the best seller's list. He has much to teach.Shelley J. Glodowski, Reviewer

Nava Rules

Michael Nava became one of my favorite authors with this book. He tells a tight twisted mystery that leaves one guessing "whodunnit?" until the very end. Besides being a prolific mystery writer, Nava infuses his stories with a real world mentality that is absent from many other authors (but hey I love escapism as much as the next person!). The reader wanting to grow with Henry Rios (Nava's main character) needs to start here and read the other books in this series. You will come to love Henry for his battles, both personal and public, and become emotionally attached to the character when he sometimes loses. A dynamic book taht makes all of us ask the question "Why?" of the world around us.
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