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Publisher's Summary

This harrowing mystery, winner of the Philippine National Book Award, follows two Catholic priests on the hunt through Manila for a brutal serial killer.

Payatas, a 50-acre dump northeast of Manila's Quezon City, is home to thousands of people who live off of what they can scavenge there. It is one of the poorest neighborhoods in a city whose law enforcement is already stretched thin, devoid of forensic resources, and rife with corruption. So when the eviscerated bodies of preteen boys begin to appear in the dump heaps, there is no one to seek justice on their behalf.

In the rainy summer of 1997, two Jesuit priests take the matter of protecting their flock into their own hands. Father Gus Saenz is a respected forensic anthropologist, one of the few in the Philippines, and has been tapped by the director of the National Bureau of Investigations as a backup for police efforts. Together with his protégé, Father Jerome Lucero, a psychologist, Saenz dedicates himself to tracking down the monster preying on these impoverished boys. Smaller and Smaller Circles, widely regarded as the first Filipino crime novel, is a poetic masterpiece of literary noir, a sensitive depiction of a time and place and a fascinating story about the Catholic Church and its place in its devotees' lives.

©2015 F.H. Batacan (P)2015 Recorded Books

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What listeners say about Smaller and Smaller Circles

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Where is the next one?

I listen to lots of audio mysteries. When I find an authir I trally like, I search for more of the writer's works. this book isoooo good, II'm off to find more books by him. Good prodecural, very interesting setttings.

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Interesting Filipino murder mystery

This is a serial killer mystery set in the Philippines with 2 Jesuit priests - one a forensic anthropologist and the other a psychologist - as the protagonists. It was average by way of a murder mystery, but with good characters and setting. Apparently it's one of the first Filipino crime novels (who knew?).

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Fantastic

great writing. loved this book. highly recommend.
hope she writes more. thank you very much. what else can I say. read this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Murder and Catholicism in the Philippines

This is an eye-opening and heartbreaking story that I binge listened to until the end. I wish this author had more books out there. What a talent! This story of several young boys being murdered and disfigured over a period of time was horrific. And more disturbing was the police departments lack of interest in finding the real killer. Two determined priests, who had been the victim of abuse themselves, would not give up on tracking down the killer. And ONE lone chief police detective, who took grief from everyone. My admiration for the GOOD priests out there increased substantially, while my anger for the hierarchy of the Catholic church rose even higher. 92% of the country are Christian, of that number, 81% are Catholic. They must be able to trust their clergy. ☹ While abuse of children by the clergy (not only Catholic priests) happens everywhere, it is particularly abhorrent in the poorest countries where children and families feel they have no recourse. Although this book has a lot of gruesome details, it isn’t full of profanity. The details are necessary for one to understand the cruelty and horror the children endured. It’s an adult listen, but one everyone needs to hear.

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  • Aj
  • 05-15-22

Great listen

This story was immersive from the beginning and held up throughout. No crazy action scenes, just well realized characters treated realistically. Not my normal fare but I really enjoyed this and will read/listen to whatever the author releases next.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-24-22

A crime-fighting partnership made in Heaven

111🎧🇵🇷PHILIPPINES🇵🇷First published in 2002, Smaller and Smaller Circles is the debut novel for FH Batacan. It won the 1999 Palanca Award (think Philippines Pulitzer Prize) and is regarded as her country’s first crime novel - and it is a cracker! The crime-solving team of Father Gus Saenz (anthropologist) and his protégé Father Jerome Lucero (psychologist) set out to find a serial killer of young boys from the Payatas rubbish dump (which fortunately closed in 2017). Only in the Philippines would two Catholic priests be engaged by the national criminal investigative bureau to solve such a crime, yet it works! This is a brilliant crime thriller that had me guessing right until the end. I hope this is not the last we hear from @ichibatacan because Gus and Jerome have a partnership made in Heaven (pun intended)! Brilliant narration too.

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