The Crimes of Hector Tomás

by Ian Colford

October 2012
6 x 9 paper 416 pages
CDN $21.95

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Winner of the 2013 Alberta Trade Fiction Book of the Year

Enrique Tomás lives a quiet life with a large, loving family in an unnamed South American country. But Enrique has secrets. When his second eldest son, Hector, and Hector’s beloved friend Nadia uncover one of Enrique’s secrets, the course of Hector’s life is irrevocably altered. Exiled by his parents to the isolated countryside, Hector is accused of terrorism—a crime for which he is innocent, yet ruthlessly punished. As he tries desperately to extricate himself from the violence perpetrated by a brutal political regime, he realizes that freedom can only come at a terrible price.

The Crimes of Hector Tomás is an epic novel about disappearance and deception, family and nation. Enrique, Hector, and Nadia become victims of their own choices as they helplessly make confessions, concessions, and commitments in pursuit of resolution—and, failing that, retaliation.

 Read an excerpt >


“Halifax-based author Ian Colford explores the dark side of human nature in his novel, The Crimes of Hector Tomás. He brings the reader into the minds of the most malevolent in society. . . The Crimes of Hector Tomás is a harrowing read for the graphic scenes of violence, but the vivid yet sparse use of language and strong characters make it worth the effort. There are many other minor, yet fully formed characters that keep the reader engaged throughout. The suspense lies in waiting to see whose survival mechanisms will prevail in a place where justice is meted out via retribution and bloodshed.” — Freefall Magazine

“This ambitious and riveting novel grips the reader from the first page and doesn’t let go until its chilling ending. Combining precise detail with sweeping statements of sharp insight, the author has written both a spellbinding story and an unsettling exploration of dark human truths. This is a masterful work of great imagination, and it has been well served by the publisher’s bold cover design and extensive publicity plans.” — Jury for the Alberta Trade Fiction Book of the Year

The Crimes of Hector Tomás is a powerful examination of the lengths people will go to survive under a repressive regime.” — Quill and Quire

“Using precise and engaging language, the book examines the implications of physical and psychological subjugation in the lives of several characters… an admirable demonstration of authorial restraint. The prose is detailed, yet spare and subtle — allowing graphic and frequently disturbing events to imprint upon each reader based upon his or her own scruples and worldview.” — The Winnipeg Review

“Reading this remarkable novel is an act of witnessing. Colford has accomplished the seemingly impossible.” — The Chronicle Herald

“Colford paints a vivid portrait of a once grand but decaying city and of the family that mirrors the same fate… the novel is both ambitious and successful.” — Atlantic Books Today

Awesome Canadian Literature in Our Own Back Yard, Part II,” Calgary is Awesome, November 16, 2012.

The Crimes of Hector Tomás brims over with confident momentum; not a word or a scene arguably feels out of place.” — National Post



“Any thought brought to bear upon this writing only proves it more intriguing, more rewarding. It’s a rich, shadowed, mind-tweaking puzzle of a book: a shrewd gathering of evidence that entrusts judgment and verdict to the reader.”
—Jim Bartley, Globe and Mail

“These stories explode in vivid detail, amazing breadth of characterization and geography, and stunning displays of conflict and emotional upheaval. Colford has a remarkable ability to depict dissonant characters out of step with their surroundings… Often there is a creeping, subdued malice at work in these stories mingled with an artful but slightly deadpan delivery that reminds me of Michel Houellebecq.”
Matthew Firth, Danforth Review

Winner of the 2009 Margaret and John Savage First Book Award

A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of 2009

Finalist for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award

Finalist for the 2009 Relit Award for Short Fiction