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  • There Are No Happy Loves reviews
  • Mercedes Rosende |  There Are No Happy Loves
There Are No Happy Loves reviews

“Brash Buenos Aires journalist Verónica Rosenthal investigates the licensing of adoptions through the Catholic Church—a story with possible ties to the discovery of a truckful of human body parts being investigated by prosecutor Federico Córdova.

Depressed and physically a wreck, still torn over her breakup with Federico—who has stoked her jealous anger by dating another woman named Verónica—Rosenthal hasn't written anything of substance in months. She manages to pull herself out of her rut when Darío, the cousin of another former lover (who was killed in a previous book), beseeches her to help find his young daughter, Jazmín. Though authorities have ruled the girl and her mother died in a fiery auto crash that Darío barely survived, no remains were found. He is convinced his wife, with whom he was at odds, fled the scene with Jazmín and went into hiding. Jazmín, it turns out, was adopted—one of many babies from struggling families in northern Argentina who were illicitly placed by the church with well-off families, Rosenthal learns. Even more alarmingly, some of those babies were the result of sexual abuse by church officials. Teaming up with María Magdalena, a good nun who became an influential journalist, Rosenthal gets a taste of what bad nuns can be like as she zeroes in on the truth. Loosely based on actual incidents, Olguín's latest is driven by the same sense of moral urgency and enriched by the same regional color that lifted his excellent previous Rosenthal books, The Fragility of Bodies (2019) and The Foreign Girls (2021). Verónica isn't quite as compelling a character this time, her trademark sexual interludes unable to overcome their gratuitousness. But the book does a solid job of connecting the dots between narratives and, like the television series The Wire, between religious, political, and judicial institutions. A solid entry in an impressive series.“----KIRKUS Reviews


"In Olguín’s engrossing third crime novel featuring Buenos Aires investigative journalist Verónica Rosenthal (after 2021’s The Foreign Girls), Darío, the lone survivor of a multiple-car accident, is sure that his daughter and wife survived the crash and that his wife has abducted their daughter. Verónica, who looks into Darío’s case, finds it strange that he’s evasive about the fact that the girl was adopted. Meanwhile, a police raid led by Verónica’s former love interest, prosecutor Federico Córdova, seizes a van that turns out to contain not drugs, as expected, but human body parts and infant corpses. With the aid of a former nun, Verónica later unearths a sinister operation involving the Catholic Church and illegal adoptions. Verónica’s and Federico’s conflicted feelings toward each other distract at times from the strong plot, but this is a quibble. Though this entry isn’t as emotionally powerful as Verónica’s previous outings, series fans will be well satisfied."---Publishers Weekly


"What a wild ride this book is. The third in Olguin’s series set in Buenos Aires, it features the tough-hitting, brazen, flawed, but brilliant journalist Verónica Rosenthal, who loves her whiskey, her lapdog, her ex-boyfriend, and great sex, preferably with strangers. As the novel opens, there is a horrific car crash followed by an explosion, leaving one survivor, Darío, who becomes convinced that his wife and child didn’t die in the conflagration but survived and ran away. Is it possible? Later, a truck is pulled over in Buenos Aires, thought to contain drugs. But the cache is far more gruesome: a load of human body parts. Verónica pursues the missing wife and child, ultimately publishing a feature about a right-wing Catholic organization, the Christian Home Movement, which took young children from poor or single mothers and placed them in well-off Catholic families. At the same time, and unknown to Verónica, her ex-boyfriend is after the body smugglers, and eventually the two storylines converge, as do the lovers. But don’t for one minute think this is some linear thriller. This book ricochets from family drama to Argentinian history to the picaresque (Verónica in nun’s garb, infiltrating a convent) to the deeply emotional. While this can be read as a stand-alone, this series builds on itself wonderfully."—First Clue


  • Author avatar
    Francois Von Hurter
  • Mercedes RosendeThere Are No Happy Loves