GRINGA is set in So Paulo, where Mario Leme, a detective in the Policia Civil, has developed a friendship with a young English investigative journalist called Ellie: they watch one another's backs, she gives him leads, and he gives her stories. When she goes to meet a contact on the outskirts of the favela, Mario observes from the street as she walks into a building - and never comes out. Inside, he discovers the dead body of a young man he doesn't recognise, and Ellie's phone lying on the floor.
Told partly from Mario's point of view, partly from Ellie's, Gringa takes us through the Sao Paulo over the course of five days at the end of 2012, during the redevelopment of the centre of So Paulo in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup as Ellie's disappearance links characters at every level of the social hierarchy, from the drug dealers and civil police to the political class. Gringa, with shades of Don Winslow and James Ellroy is a portrait of a city at an extraordinary moment in its history.
Joe Thomas is Visiting Lecturer in English Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. He lived and taught in Sao Paulo for ten years. Paradise City is his first novel.