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La Esmeralda Imperfecta by David Carroll gives a glimpse into the lives of a tight network of family and friends who are linked together and connected in some way to the drug culture in Costa Rica. This novel gives intriguing insights into how this world can affect everyone it touches, even those with good intentions and who are just trying to survive, such as Sofia. Readers not only follow the journey of the characters but also that of the drugs that are smuggled.

Throughout the story, the reader is introduced to numerous characters that are interesting in their own unique ways, but the number of them can get confusing at time. The descriptions of the characters and their back stories are very detailed, even the minor characters are described in the same manner. While discussing descriptions, the imagery and way David Carroll has set the scene is done very well. You get a real feel for the culture and by using the setting such as ‘exotic wooden furniture, colourful local artwork, and ornate ceramic tile’ you can start to picture some of the more traditional building in Costa Rica, making the story more vivid.

The plot unfolds methodically as the story progresses, making this a slow burn novel that is engrossing by the end. If you enjoy crime stories with a large variety of well defined characters then you will certainly enjoy this book. The use of local dialect throughout such as ‘can’t believe this cabrón’ and other such terminology, combined with the comprehensive descriptions help place readers in the scene and add to the cultural flavor of the story. There is more than one story in La Esmeralda Imperfecta, serving to deliver an epic crime drama that tells a vast story with multiple perspectives.

Pages: 187

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