Costa Rica: Fact and Fiction

I never thought Costa Rica would be one of the countries with an almost non-existent list of books to choose from. I was lucky enough to find Cadence of Moon by Óscar Núñez Olivas, which has an intriguing story. I have to be honest and say that if the names and places in this book would have been changed to names like Mike, Sue, and Chris, and the city to let’s say Chicago or Houston, I would buy it, and frankly, see no real difference. Somehow the whole concept of the book is typically American.

The book is however set in Costa Rica in the area of Cartago, Curridabat, and Desamparados from 1986 to 1996. It’s about the first documented serial killer in the country. At least 19 people were brutally murdered. The killer was called “The Psychopath”, which makes sense. The killer mostly targeted couples, and shot them with a machine gun.

I have no doubt this psycho shook Costa Ricans to the core, because he was the first real serial killer in the country, and because of the sadistic way he killed these poor human beings. “To recap, two couples murdered in the same place two months apart. However, the men’s corpses seem to have been buried on top of each other.” This is part of a conversation between an editor and a reporter, with a not so brutal content.

The two main characters are the aforementioned reporter and a policeman, who investigate the deaths and want to find the Psycho. This part is fiction, even though the case these fictive characters are working on is based on a true story. Since the Psycho was never officially found the interesting part in the book is the co-operation between the media and the police, and the ethical dilemmas both parts face. Obviously romance is also a part of the story.

At times the book has a Criminal Minds feel, but definitely gives out less of a Hollywood vibe than the TV show. The elements are there, because the brutality and amount of victims would make a perfect episode. Even though the characters are interesting and believable, I felt like the story would have been better as either the full nonfiction account of the killings and the serial killer, or then a  fictive story focusing on the main characters trying to solve the murders.

I am surprised that the book is not that famous. However, it probably is famous in Costa Rica. Even though it’s well-written, and I am interested in the subject in general, one thing bugs me for sure. It’s the same with all the books about the assassination of JFK. I have too many questions after I finish these books. The main question will remain unanswered: Who did it?

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