Book Notes: Carmen Mola

Carmen Mola is a pseudonym of three Spanish male writers who have published several novels in a series about an elite police corps in Madrid investigating exceptionally gruesome sex crimes. It’s pretty much like Law & Order: SVU but the ick factor is several orders of magnitude higher. I have now read all 4 novels that have appeared in the series so far and can talk about the general thrust of the series which I find curious.

Several of the detectives in the elite squad depicted in the series are very rich. And I mean, really rich. Serious old money. They all lead extremely disordered sex lives and despise traditional lifestyles, religion, and small-town living. The youngest of the detectives is “gender fluid.” Two of them have children, and that is depicted as the source of absolute horror. By horror I don’t mean their kids throw tantrums and do too much screen time. I mean rape, dismemberment, and cannibalism, all portrayed in minute detail. One character falls in love and attempts to have a serious relationship, which also turns into a nightmare.

The writers clearly side with these characters who are the heroes of the series. But the really interesting thing is that these detectives and the lifestyles they lead are often the source of the horror in the novels. Their disordered sexualities are a sort of a conduit that unleashes dark sexual forces into daily reality. Several of the more gruesome plots would simply not happen if these characters were a little less fluid and tried to contain themselves a bit.

The main takeaway from the series – which the authors undoubtedly didn’t intend – is that mega rich people with their unconstrained sex lives usher extreme dysfunction into the world that then they have to battle heroically. Of course, we know that in reality police officers aren’t wealthy. But it’s fascinating that the authors of the series unwittingly come up with such a curious diagnosis.

It’s hard to capture this with just one or two novels but the more books you read from the series, the clearer it becomes that something very strange is happening.


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