Readers’ reviews and comments…
“An intelligent literary thriller — much better than the so-called blockbusters I used to read when Head Buyer at Waterstone’s,”
“As a literary thriller, the plot doesn’t disappoint. A simple tale of baddies trying to steal a couple of paintings adds layer upon layer of intrigue as Cotelo follows the trail of subtle clues and curious characters, while simultaneously negotiating the murky waters of Spanish back room politics. The literary and artistic pretensions of the novel are laid on with a light touch, adding depth and richness to a good old rip-roaring tale of detective work.
Cotelo himself is a thinking person’s Columbo, dishevelled and disrespectful, with a keen nose for human nature. But he also has political and literary sensibilities, a dark back story, and a dash of sex appeal thrown in for good measure.
For many English readers, this novel will introduce them to an unfamiliar Spain. The traumas and divisions of the civil war still lie just beneath the surface even today. This dark tale of simple greed and complicated historical and political motivations places the reader firmly in that divided society.
As a page-turning thriller with the added richness of literary, artistic and historical settings, this was a very satisfying read.”
“After Goya is engaging from page one and takes you on a thrilling journey throughout Spain and across time. Its a wonderful mix of Art History, Spanish Civil War politics, International espionage and conspiracy theory. Haarlson Phillipps is a great writer who skillfully pulls you into the intrigue and twists and turns the plot keeping you riveted. A great read!”
“All of the lead players are developed well (I particularly liked the lead cop who was apt to losing his phone and the rather pompous art loving Englishman) and the passages of dialogue are excellent. I loved, too, the Spanishness of it: for me the book brought to life many of the customs and unique nature of this beautiful country.
Overall I found it to be an enjoyable and informative read and I’d happily recommend it.”
“A well written puzzle of a book. I was pleasantly surprised. Although the plot was so devious it was a little hard to follow at times it was so well written that it didn’t really matter. In a sparse, and often humorous, style the book evokes a Spain I don’t really know and populates it with entirely believable characters.The quirky grumpy detective was a particular pleasure to meet. I am still trying to work out how the Geneva connection properly fits into the puzzle. But maybe if I read it again I’ll find that missing piece of the jigsaw!”
“I loved the historical content and the way the author skillfully took the reader back to Spain’s darkest days and left just a little hint that they could easily be ressurected. Great plot, well researched book and written with an obvious passion for my adopted homeland.”
“I enjoyed reading this immensely. The story, right from the onset, is gripping and very well written, setting up a superb story. The Spanish Civil War introduction sets the scene perfectly for things to come. A winner — intrigue and eccentric, interesting characters — many finely phrased metaphors — a superb thriller.”
“Extremely impressed — Haarlson Phillipps is an excellent and accomplished writer who has that wonderful capability of convincing the reader that the characters, locations and plot are all authentic.”
“After Goya is a strong thriller. It’s tautly written, has good pace, good dialogue and an intriguing plot. The narrative moves at a cracking pace, and the characters are all well drawn. It’s a smooth and easy read, and a gripping tale.”