A campaign for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff is in full swing, yet 100,000 people take to Avenida Paulista in São Paulo in her support.

On the same day, a young man from a wealthy family is murdered.

Detective Mario Leme discovers the body. Two Military Policemen confront him. They strongarm him into the back of an SUV.

Set against the backdrop of the biggest political corruption scandal in Brazilian history, Playboy is the story of Leme’s attempt to clear his name, and find the young man’s killer. Leme’s investigation runs right through São Paulo society, from the bottom, to the very top – and has implications far beyond. And the fight to prove his innocence might just cost Leme his life.

A stylish, taut, and atmospheric novel in the hardboiled tradition of American noir, Playboy is a thrilling examination of the seething, violent street life of São Paulo – and the political convulsions of contemporary Brazil.


'Thomas's fine series ofers a wonderfully vivid introduction to a society in violent, vibrant flux.' John Williams, Mail on Sunday

‘Fresh, gripping, and incredibly assured’ Stav Sherez, author of The Intrusions

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

‘With its feverish energy, opulent nightlife, culture and chaos, the Brazilian megalopolis is a perfect setting for Joe Thomas’s crime thrillers’ Jane Dunford, Guardian

‘Great crime fiction hinges on a sense of place, and Thomas proves an adroit guide to a city that has developed at dizzying speed’ GQ

‘[A]s vibrant, colourful and complex as South America’s largest city’ Myles McWeeney, Irish Independent

‘A tough, uncompromising style’ Jon Wise

‘Joe Thomas’s work has been compared to James Ellroy, as it is abrupt, elliptical, and heavily loaded with slang in both English and Portuguese. That comparison is true’ Shotsmag

‘The risks involved in life are portrayed very strongly, particularly if you are not one of the rich enjoying the good life behind guarded gates. […] The thoughts and conversations of the featured characters come across as roughly-hewn and realistic […]. The whole builds up to a picture of a place you can believe, but you might not necessarily want to visit’ Chris Roberts, Crime Review

‘[A] pacy read portraying vividly the dynamism and dysfunction, seediness and sensuality, corruption and vibrancy of the world’s twelfth largest city. […] I can see it as perfect film noir/ TV material and if you fancy a walk on the dark, wild side, you couldn’t choose a more exciting fellow traveller’ Serena Fairfax, Mystery People

Gringa has been compared with the works of James Ellroy or Don Winslow due to its astute sense of place and time, but I see it sharing more with the likes of David Peace’s Red Riding quartet. […] Thomas has captured the uniquely Brazilian flavour of social struggle in Brazil. […] a city this fascinating and diverse is certainly worth a visit on the page’ Nagasi Ayonara, Crime Fiction Lover

‘Gringa is a mix of thrilling read and social insight – fast paced and original. […] If you want a thriller that’s a little exotic, a lot original and thoroughly entertaining, try Gringa Paul Burke, Nudge Noir/ The Nudge

‘[I] felt my hackles rise on more than one occasion. […] Thomas consistently exposes the naked truth behind the power and oppression of the more vulnerable in society. […] powerful and thought provoking… The weighty social issues of the book are more than balanced with the superb characterisation... [Gringa is] a great read for those who like their crime on the darker side of the tracks, and dare I say it, even better than the debut [Paradise City]. Highly recommended’ Raven Crime Reads

‘São Paulo is very alive, vibrant, dangerous and oh so corrupt – the atmosphere of Gringa drips with authenticity. […] I can’t wait to read more about this intoxicating city (9/10)’ Annabel Gaskell, Shiny New Reads

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05 Sep 2019
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About the author

  • Joe Thomas

    Joe Thomas

    Joe Thomas is the author of Paradise City, Gringa and Playboy. The final part in his São Paulo quartet, Brazilian Psycho, is scheduled for publication in 2021. His first London novel, Bent, is published in Spring 2020.

    Titles by Joe Thomas

    Brazilian Psycho
    Gringa by Joe Thomas
    Paradise City