Medical school drop-out Yessica Sanchez opens a restaurant in her home town of Medellin, the most dangerous city in the world. She falls in love with a Swiss backpacker and together they enjoy a simple, idyllic lifestyle. But the traveller, Marcus Hamm, carries a dark secret and when a man is killed outside the restaurant it triggers a series of events that threaten their lives and will test their relationship to its limits.
Soon other interested parties like the CIA, mercenaries and Colombian police are competing to secure the huge financial prize that they believe to be at stake. Only Yessica’s father, an unassuming but cunning professor of anthropology, can save his family from a terrible fate. He’ll stop at nothing to do so.
The backdrop to the story includes some of the more colorful aspects of Medellin, such as its spectacular festival of flowers and Young Women’s Talent Competition, and a host of interesting characters from every part of Colombian society.
My thanks to Emma at Busy Bee for my review copy.
One of the reasons I started to blog was that I wanted to make readers aware of books that I had read which I thought other people would also enjoy. I also set myself a personal challenge of reading new authors and also books which are suitably different from my normal go-to titles. This brings me nicely to Reciclador by Joff Sharpe – a debut novel set in Columbia’s roughest suburbs. Did I enjoy it and do I want lots of people to read it? Damn right!
The problem that I am going to have in explaining why you should read Reciclador is that if I enthuse about what I loved about the story then I need to include spoilers and spoilers are banned on these pages.
Reciclador tells the story of Marcus and Yessica. They run a restaurant in Medellin, Columbia (the most dangerous city in the world). Life seems simple for the couple and the restaurant is doing well but readers soon learn that Marcus cuts a somewhat mysterious figure. Yessica, however, is much more open and is invited, as a successful local businesswoman, to help the younger women of Medellin to show their skills and talents through a Young Women’s Talent Competition. In a city where drawing attention to your successes can be a dangerous idea Yessica soon finds her restaurant is receiving some unwanted attention.
Although Yessica and Marcus are the main characters in Reciclador we also get to spend time with a variety of characters from very different social backgrounds. Corrupt policemen, savvy politicians, street kids scrapping for status and their peers who are looking to lift themselves out of their impoverished existence. Reciclador was an eye-opening read and although it is a work of fiction the story is grounded in fact which makes some of the events so much more disconcerting. I urge you to read my chat with author Joff Sharpe where he discusses how much of the story was influenced by actual events. Full interview can be found here: http://grabthisbook.net/?p=983
If you are looking for a gripping thriller which offers something a little different from the norm then Reciclador should be right up at the top of your list. The dynamics of Columbian society essentially mean that anything goes, everyone has a price, nobody is above intimidation and violence is commonplace. Drop in two people trying to live a quiet life (who find themselves with a dead body on their property) and you know that things are going to go wrong fairly quickly.
When I consider the titles I have covered on my blog I cannot think of any book which is comparable to Reciclador. A fresh reading experience which I devoured – a book I wanted to read in one sitting yet a book I did not want to end. I hope that Joff Sharpe decides to return to Medellin as this is a city which offers so much potential for more thrilling tales. 5 star thrills – loved this!
Reciclador is the debut novel from author Joff Sharpe, who has written about financial fugitives for Newsweek, Huffington Post and Hong Kong’s largest circulation English-speaking newspaper, The South China Morning Post.
He has previously published a non-fiction book ‘Who Dares Wins in Business’ which combined wisdom from his early career as an SAS Special Forces officer and his role today as an executive in a £17 billion real estate investment company.
Other entries on Joff’s CV include: a year living amongst the Iban headhunters of Borneo, running an internet company for Rupert Murdoch and being Piers Morgan’s HR director.
Reciclador is available now through Amazon in paperback and digital format: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reciclador-Recycler-Mr-Joff-Sharpe/dp/1512269387/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441233935&sr=1-1&keywords=reciclador