São Paulo, 2013: a city at an extraordinary moment in its history.
Mario Leme, a detective in the civil police, has developed a friendship with a young English investigative journalist, Ellie. When she goes to meet a contact in central São Paulo, Mario observes from the street as she walks into a building – and doesn’t come out. Inside, he discovers the dead body of a young man he doesn’t recognise, and Ellie’s phone lying on the floor.
Told partly from Leme’s point of view, partly from Ellie’s, Gringa takes us through five days during the redevelopment of the centre of São Paulo in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup. Ellie’s disappearance links characters at every level of the social hierarchy, from the drug dealers and civil and military police to the political class – she witnesses the feral brutality of urban breakdown.
Gringa, with shades of Don Winslow and James Ellroy, is a portrait of São Paulo in all its harshness and dysfunction, its corruption and social divisions, its kaleidoscopic dynamism, its undercurrent of derangement, and its febrile, sensual instability, executed with a deep knowledge of the city’s anatomy.
Praise for Joe Thomas:
‘Great crime fiction hinges on a sense of place, and after returning to London after ten years living in the world in which he has set his sophisticated debut, Thomas proves an adroit guide to a city that has developed at dizzying speed.' GQ Magazine
'Paradise City is a gripping read. This fast-paced and darkly atmospheric novel introduces Joe Thomas as a new and distinct voice in crime fiction of the city.' Susanna Jones, author of The Earthquake Bird
'Paradise City is an exciting, dark and trenchant thriller, exposing the dark underbelly of São Paulo where money, politics and murder meet. Fresh, gripping and incredibly assured, Joe Thomas will be a name to watch in crime fiction.' Stav Sherez, author of The Intrusions
‘With its feverish energy, opulent nightlife, culture and chaos, the Brazilian megalopolis is a perfect setting for Joe Thomas’s crime thrillers.’ The Guardian
‘A tough, uncompromising style.’ Jon Wise
‘As vibrant, colourful and complex as South America’s largest city.’ Irish Independent