La luz más cruel / Under The Cruel Light

La luz más cruel / Under The Cruel Light

Title: La luz más cruel / Under The Cruel Light
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Harper Collins
Date of publication: April 2024
Pages: 320

A fascinating historical thriller in which the search for the purest beauty is confused with evil  and the young photographer Clara discovers that only the cruelest light can expose it.

Beauty can be terrible, dark and strange.

Barcelona, early 20th century. A series of bodies of young, attractive men appear in the city’s port, all shot in the chest. During the autopsy, Elías Sunyer, a young forensic surgeon, discovers that the shots are post mortem, that the bodies contain traces of ether and opium and show signs of having been abused.

Against the wishes of her distinguished family of portrait photographers, the photographer Clara Prats, a police collaborator, is in charge of the crime scene photographs because she has the necessary expertise to work in adverse lighting conditions. To her surprise, she discovers that she knows the victims, as she also takes photographs for the police files in the Anthropometric Office. And what at first appears to be a coincidence begins to look suspicious.

Manuel Martín Prieto is the commissioner of district V and fears that the crimes will attract too much attention of the press and that his business dealings in the port will be discovered. After investigating the city’s underworld and finding nothing, he begins to take Clara’s fears into consideration.

A wealthy lawyer Carlos Monfort then offers Clara a new job helping out in the photography workshop of the inmates of the Nueva Betlem Sanatorium, a modern establishment that at first seems more like a spa than a typical mental institution. The young photographer then discovers that in order to save a life she will be forced to portray cruelty in the most terrible way possible.

Under The Cruel Light is a fascinating journey across a city of contrasts, where cabarets coexist with luxurious social clubs and the most innovative advances of the century, the most absolute misery with the sophisticated whims of the bourgeoisie, mental illness and marine tattoos with lace and leather gloves. And where evil always looms and struggles to come to light.