Smaller and Smaller Circles: Exploring the World of Crime Scene Investigation
Crime—an illegal act; an action prohibited by law or failure to act as required by law. Idyllically, novel have already created the kind of genre like some sort of crime and investigation, particularly thriller and suspense fictions, which could truly catch the attention and indulgence of people who love literature. One award-winning literary novel is the Carlos-Palanca Memorial Awardee is the 1999’s Smaller and Smaller Circlesby Maria Felisa H. Batacan, which demonstrates the search of the true identity of the killer on the mysterious worldin which the killings were very inhumane. In other words, this Filipino crime novel has caught the breath and trapped the attentions of many Filipino authors and readers because of the different flavour it has offered. But, why write this? According to Hidalgo (2006), the recurring theme was focused on “in an unusual twist on the crime fiction stereotype, readers know the identity of the criminal (p. 80). But looking through the text in relation to the Philippine society, it essentially depicts how the National Bureau of Investigation works ineffectively during the time it was written. Generally, widespread social injustice and indignities do not have to be overwhelming; we can right the wrongs of the world one case at a time.
Smaller and Smaller Circles takes you to Payatas, a place in Metro Manila known for its mountainous range of garbage, and the low horizon lined with galvanized iron roofs of shanties and a loving layer of industrial smoke.The setting is very modern, and based on real-life situation. It just happened that I found out a novel that grabbed my interest for it is modern compared to other Philippine novel in English. The atmosphere that is always described seems providing a social relation regarding poverty, or maybe the problem on the garbage during that time was very inescapable. The seting is in Quezon City, Metro Manila, wherein it really help a lot on centralizing the theme on questioning the inefficiency of NBI. The other places are well-described every time the main characters are exploring the big circle—so they could get easily into smaller circles, where in that place can lead them to the true serial killer. On the other hand, we meet Fr. Augustus "Gus" Saenz (a forensic pathologist) —a Jesuit priest who does autopsies, cool, composed, tall and handsome, likes classic rock and European music, clever with the tongue—and his once-student, now sidekick, Fr. Jerome Lucero (a clinical psychologist). He is a clinical psychologist, whenever he's not saying mass, vomiting, or honking horns at traffic jams, and the story pulls us deeper into the psyche and the culture of the less-fortunate and the abused. The difficulty of working with the National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) on low-profile crime cases is also given a glimpse in the character of the arrogant Atty. Benjamin Arcinas. Gus Saenz reminds people of Sherlock Holmes. People were exactly astonished when they watched that movie. Their very detailed investigation has leaded them to the solution of a problem. If the world has Sherlock, Philippines has Augustus. Alex Carlos is the resident dentist-slash-serial killer in this fast-paced novel. He works in the mobile clinic that provides dental and medical check-ups in the Payatas area. It is there that he is given access to the undersized and undernourished boys he needs to fulfil his sick plan. His anger comes from being molested as a child by his PE teacher Mr.Gorospe. Unable to talk to his parents about the humiliating incident, and incapable of talking to any friends about his trauma, he grows up psychologically impaired and angry. He kills with cunning precision and every act is symbolic. He defaces his victims, and excises the genitals, signs that there is a sexual conflict and a need to rid off the identity of the kids, much like what happened to Alex Carlos...
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