THE ORIGIN OF MURDER by Jerold last is the latest offering in the Roger and Suzanne mystery series. The book is two parts travelogue to one part murder mystery, all with a nod to famed researcher Charles Darwin. You got the title’s riff on ORIGIN OF SPECIES, right?

THE ORIGIN OF MURDER romps through the capital of Ecuador (did you know it was Quito?) as well as the Galapagos Islands and a run-down Mexican resort. The story, narrated by California private detective Roger Bowman, includes a wonderfully diverse and charming cast of characters: Roger’s brainy wife Suzanne, their gay ex-Seal nanny named Bruce, an Ecuadoran general, and a Paraguayan cop who moonlights as a Mossad spy. And those are just the good guys!

As in Last’s previous novel in the series, THE DEADLY DOG SHOW, the setting is the heart of the book. Both Quito’s charms and slums are described and the reader gets a healthy dose  of major historical locations. When the action moves to the Galapagos, the author spares no effort to put the reader right there, with exceptional descriptions of the islands’ unique bird life, terrain, and access by boat. The mystery is woven throughout but the magnificent setting is what really drives the narrative.

A favorite element of the book was the way each chapter begins with a relevant quote from Charles Darwin’s ORIGIN OF SPECIES, written while Darwin was cruising the Galapagos on the HMS Beagle in the early 1800’s. Last’s choice of quotes is perfect in every case, so that the action is presaged and the reader understands the clarity of Darwin’s observations as well.

THE ORIGIN OF MURDER is a great book for armchair travelers, anyone interested in Ecuador, and is a must-read before your next expedition to the Galapagos–either real or virtual!

FYI: uses Amazon Affiliate links.


The worst writing advice ever. Not kidding.

“But the novel is set in Mexico,” she said. “All the characters are Mexican.” “That’s right,” I replied. “Lives of the people fighting the drug cartels. And Mexico’s class structure.” More than 5 years ago, I was speaking on the phone to a well-known American author...

read more

The creative process according to Tolkien (and me)

Last week I sat down with fantasy author Vee James to talk about the creative process. He’s the author of NECCABASHAR, the tale of a young demon climbing the corporate ladder in Hell with hilarious results. (Comedy Channel, take note. This is your next breakout...

read more

Book Review: Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolás Obregón

BLUE LIGHT YOKOHAMA by Nicolás Obregón is a dense and layered police procedural set in contemporary Japan. The title is that of a song which keeps playing in the mind of the main character; like the song, the book is one I won’t soon forget because of...

read more

Be an Influencer

Learn to write fast, influential reviews with my 5 Sentence Book Review Cheatsheet

Get the downloadable PDF Book Review Cheatsheet, complete with simple outline, instructions, and an example to follow.

You'll also receive my twice-monthly Mystery Ahead newsletter with book reviews, author interviews, and sales and book release news.
I never share emails addresses and never send spam.

© 2018 Carmen Amato.


I'm author Carmen Amato. I write mystery and suspense, including the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco. Expect risk, power, corruption. And relationships with heat.  More

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This