Book review: Domingo Villar – Water Blue Eyes

A thriller located in Galicia, that’s Water Blue Eyes by Domingo Villar. But does location matter in a thriller? The location may be less important for the tension. It can influence, but generally it’s not all about the geographical location. An exciting story can take place anywhere.

Does location therefore become less important when reading a literary thriller? Not for me. I like to read stories on locations that intigue me. It makes it easier to imagine the story.
So, in that case, I had to read this book. As said, Water Bley Eyes by Domingo Villar is a thriller and set in Galicia.

A thriller in Galicia

Ok, the novel is set in Galicia. But it’s not just coincidence. In this novel, the region really has added value to the story. The writer Domingo Villar was born in Galicia and knows how to describe the region excellently.

In the story, the protagonist, Inspector Leo Caldas, has an assistant named Rafael Estévez. This assistant is not from Galicia and is new to the area. Through his character writer Villar reflects the typical customs from Galicia and the character of the people in the novel.

It’s funny to read. The assistant has three things that makes it difficult for him to adjust to the Galician live.

  1. The unpredictable, ever-changing nature of the weather in Galicia
  2. The steepness of the streets in Vigo
  3. The ambiguity expressions of the people in Galicia.

Very funny to read. And then he not even mentions the use of the Galician language Galego.

Fun fact: the book was originally written in Galego by the other, but the author later changed to Spanish to get it published.
The original Galician title was ‘ Ollos de agua’, translated to Spanish ‘Ojos de agua’ and then to English ‘Water blue eyes’. Do you notice the change in word order between Galician, Spanish and English?

The story takes place in Vigo. The protagonists barely leave the city during the whole story. They only do when visiting the beautiful beaches of Galicia. In the book they go the beaches of Lapamén at the Ria de Pontevedra. It’s spring and at that time the beach is all for themselves, what probably is not the case in summer.

What is Water Blue Eyes about?

In Vigo a young saxophonist is found dead. He is murdered, and the way he is killed is extraordinary. His stomach, groin, genitals and thighs are horribly burned. A cruel murder. Who would do this? Inspector Leo Caldas is called to investigate the case. Together with his assistant Rafael Estévez they go for a hunt on the killer. It leads them to gay night clubs, private hospitals and the local jetset, all in the tense, affected atmosphere of affluent Vigo.

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