This harrowing mystery, winner of the Philippine National Book Award, follows two Catholic priests on the hunt through Manila for a brutal serial killer
Payatas, a 50-acre dump northeast of Manila’s Quezon City, is home to thousands of people who live off of what they can scavenge there. It is one of the poorest neighborhoods in a city whose law enforcement is already stretched thin, devoid of forensic resources and rife with corruption. So when the eviscerated bodies of preteen boys begin to appear in the dump heaps, there is no one to seek justice on their behalf.
In the rainy summer of 1997, two Jesuit priests take the matter of protecting their flock into their own hands. Father Gus Saenz is a respected forensic anthropologist, one of the few in the Philippines, and has been tapped by the Director of the National Bureau of Investigations as a backup for police efforts. Together with his protégé, Father Jerome Lucero, a psychologist, Saenz dedicates himself to tracking down the monster preying on these impoverished boys.
Smaller and Smaller Circles, widely regarded as the first Filipino crime novel, is a poetic masterpiece of literary noir, a sensitive depiction of a time and place, and a fascinating story about the Catholic Church and its place in its devotees’ lives.
Where do I even start? I am at loss for words,truly. This book? It's a MASTERPIECE! I've read Dan Brown, Robert Galbraith and I can't believe I just knew about this book. Thanks to Mina Esguerra and the #Heistclub peeps, I was able to read something like these. It's like I was reading the adventures of The Winchester brothers, the only difference is, it's not paranormal and it is set in the Philippines.
Exciting and intense this book is. I would definitely want for F.H. Batacan to write more crime novels. Highly recommended! If I were you, I'd go and check my local bookstore if there are still copies left. I looked for this book back when I had my vacation in my hometown a month ago and it was out of stock. Good thing, my family and I went to Cebu and it was there, in Fullybooked that I got a copy.
Rating: 10 STARS
Maria Felisa H. Batacan is a Filipino journalist and a writer of crime and mystery fiction. Her work has been published in the Philippines and abroad under the name F.H. Batacan.
She was a fellow at the 1996 Dumaguete National Writers' Workshop.
Batacan worked in the Philippine intelligence community and then became a broadcast journalist. She attended the University of the Philippines, where she pursued a master's degree in Arts Studies. In 1999 her manuscript, Smaller and Smaller Circles, won the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature Grand Prize for the English Novel. This novel was published in 2002 by the University of the Philippines Press. Although most Filipino English-language fiction works garner a single print run of only 1,000 copies,Smaller and Smaller Circles had been reprinted four times by the year 2006, for a total of 6,000 copies. The novel was one of the first Filipino works of crime fiction.
The novel also won the 2002 Manila Critics’ Circle National Book Award and the Madrigal-Gonzales Best First Book Award in 2003.
In 2008, she won 1st prize in the English short story category of the Philippines Free Press Literary Awards.