“A good, old-fashioned serial killer novel set in Quezon City. What’s fascinating is the glimpse into a conservative and pious society, full of obstructive officials, both clerical and secular, who are more interested in preserving the status quo than in revealing uncomfortable truths.”

- The Guardian


Payatas, a 50-acre dump in northeast Manila, is home to thousands of people who live off of what they can scavenge. It is one of the poorest neighborhoods in a city whose law enforcement is stretched thin and rife with corruption. So when the eviscerated bodies of preteen boys begin to appear in the trash heaps in the rainy summer of 1997, there is no one to seek justice on their behalf—until two Jesuit priests, forensic anthropologist Father Gus Saenz and his protégé, Father Jerome Lucero, take the matter of protecting their flock into their own hands.

Book Cover Credit


The Designer:

Sabaridas is a graduate ( 2017 April) in Painting from College Of Fine Arts, Bangalore (Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath)
A young prodigy – an artist who believes in excellence rather than academic achievements.He seeks individuality in what he does, thus his quest has bought him to the realm of black and white. Sabaridas also has a few exhibitions to his name in Cochin (2015), Bangalore( 2015 and 2017) respectively right through his degree.

Apart from shows, Sabaridas has also illustrated the walls in Bangalore, through which he generates money. Wall art or wall painting is his way to going commercial and making money.

The Cover Design:

The work constitutes a portrait of a kid. A kid who essays the victim in the book.
The face has been layered by multiple threads that has been taken from the book.
Right from the mutilation of the face.. to the corrupt investigation.. and also the intervention of the Church. All of which has a symbolic parallel.
The inverted cross ( bar coded ) at the bottom signifies the degree of involvement the church has right through the course of the book .
The bar coded cross has seven vertical bar’s and 8 horizontal bar’s. The significance of logic is in the hands of the reader who concludes the book upon his/her understanding.
An antagonist lurks within the protagonist.
There is more to it that meets the eye.

A young boy’s body is found in one of Manila’s largest dumpsite, face skinned and genitals mutilated. This is not the first murder of this kind and it sparks an investigation by the NBI who appoints two Jesuit priests to lead the investigation.

Father Saenz, is an academician and also runs a forensic laboratory with his student and now friend Father Lucero, a psychologist. They cut through the layers of corrupt institutions and religion to reach the ghastly reality of paedophilia within the catholic church. Meanwhile as the body count grows, the priests must race against time with their investigations even as they try and make sense of the killer and his signature.

Will the killer continue his reign of terror? Or will the priests stop him in time?

Read to discover an exciting addition from Philippines to the canon of crime fiction.

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F. H. Batacan

F.H. Batacan was born in Manila and graduated from the University of the Philippines with a BA in communications and an MA in art history. After ten years of working in the Philippine intelligence community, she turned to broadcast journalism. Smaller and Smaller Circles, her first novel, won the prestigious Philippine National Book Award and is widely regarded as the first Philippine crime novel. It also won the Carlos Palanca Grand Prize for the English Novel in 1999, the National Book Award 2002 and Madrigal-Gonzalez Award in 2003.


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