“The Edgar-winning author tells her story in spare prose, befitting the bleakness of the political and physical landscape. . . . The richness of historical detail and the loving but uneasy relationship between Tejada and Elena offer their own rewards to the reader.”—Denver Post
“The hostilities are never over in the mournful mysteries that Rebecca Pawel sets in the devastated cities of Spain in the aftermath of the civil war. . . . Pawel frames the complex ethical issues she raises in the divided loyalties of her series hero . . . and his wife, Elena, whose sympathies are entirely with the Republican cause. Until the family wounds are healed, Pawel argues, the war will never end.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Equal parts history lesson and crime novel, displaying both offhand cruelty and welcome depth.”—Kirkus Reviews
Spain, 1940. Potes, a remote northern mountain village, is Carlos Tejada’s first independent Guardia Civil command. He soon discovers that this “promotion” is a mixed blessing. The villagers are unwelcoming. He and his pregnant wife, Elena, have no place to live but the jail, and his own men seem strangely hostile. Is it just their suspicion of his wife’s Republican sympathies? Or is there more going on in the beautiful but bleak area, recently devastated by the civil war? Tejada discovers that there may, indeed, be a new outbreak of that war with Potes as its epicenter. And he must find a way to reconcile his love for his wife with his duty.
About The Watcher in the Pine
“Absolutely riveting. . . . Rebecca Pawel’s first act of surprising courage is to make her main character not one of the romantic Republicans of folk song and Hemingway story but an officer of their much-hated enemy, the dreaded Guardia Civil.”—Chicago Tribune
“[Rebecca Pawel’s] expansive knowledge of the city and the era brings alive its grim streets and harsh martial law. . . . This is a fascinating tale from a promising young writer; I’m already looking forward to her next book.”—Rocky Mountain News
“The immediate aftermath of the Spanish Civil War provides the bleak setting for Pawel’s stirring first novel. . . . Unsparing in her depiction of the casual brutalities spawned by war, but also offers evidence of the power of little civilities and kindnesses in a novel that easily transcends the formulaic crime story.”—Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Pawel anchors a tense and exciting story with a terrific and complex plot.”—Detroit Free Press
Spain, 1940. A mountain village is Carlos Tejada’s first independent command. But he soon discovers that this “promotion” is a mixed blessing. There is no one to meet the train when he and his wife arrive, the officers of the small Guardia Civil post are far from welcoming. Is it just that they are suspicious of an officer with a Republican sympathizer for a wife? Tejada discovers that the officer he is replacing was shot to death and that the village is a center of smuggling and guerrilla activity. And then worse befalls: a new outbreak of the Civil War, financed from abroad, may be about to take place with his post as its epicenter.
Tejada must ultimately find a way to reconcile his duty with his love for his wife.