Smaller and Smaller Circles

Smaller and Smaller Circles

by F.H. Batacan


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616956639
Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/07/2016
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 457,906
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.48(h) x 0.94(d)

About the Author

F.H. Batacan is a Filipino journalist, musician, and crime fiction writer currently based in Singapore. After ten years of working in the Philippine intelligence community, she turned to broadcast journalism. Smaller and Smaller Circles, her first novel, won the Philippine National Book Award.

Read an Excerpt

Emil is running after his slum kids, panting in the noonday sun, loosening the high collar of his shirt as he goes.

Excerpted from "Smaller and Smaller Circles"
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Copyright © 2016 F.H. Batacan.
Excerpted by permission of Soho Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Smaller and Smaller Circles 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
BrandieC More than 1 year ago
F.H. Batacan's Smaller and Smaller Circles won several prizes in her native Philippines when it was first published, and with good reason; it is an excellent murder mystery which, while having a superb sense of time and place, rises above its setting to feel fresh almost two decades after it was written. Batacan has created two wonderful characters to investigate the gruesome deaths of several poor boys, Jesuit priests Gus Saenz and Jerome Lucero. Her choice of protagonists brings a richness and depth to her story by incorporating the Catholic Church and its relationships with its priests and congregants as a key element. Making them Jesuits was inspired. That order, known for its emphasis on education and its questioning attitude toward even the Catholic Church itself, keeps Smaller and Smaller Circles from falling into the cozy mystery territory of Ralph McInerney's Father Dowling, while its engagement with the world outside the church renders Batacan's story less cerebral than Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. Where Batacan truly excels, however, is in her depiction of the relationship between Saenz and Lucero. Their love and respect for each other is apparent in their every encounter, making them a duo I would love to spend more time with (say, at least six more books). Unfortunately, I could not find any other novels authored by Batacan, so Smaller and Smaller Circles will have to remain my gateway drug rather than leading to a full Saenz/Lucero addiction. I received a free copy of Smaller and Smaller Circles through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.