Mass Murders

Budjette Tan

Book cover

Check out my review of “Murder on Balete Drive” (Trese #1) for a broader assessment of this series. Also, the below should be read in the context that I haven’t yet been able to read Trese #2 (“Unreported Murders”), but couldn’t stop myself from reading #3-6!

This volume is my favorite of the five Trese books I have read so far. Unlike some of the other volumes, while #3 consists of five separate “cases,” it constitutes a single unified narrative surrounding the manifestation of the Talagbusao, a war deity. The overall plotline, in which a war deity attempts to ritually increase its power by fomenting war and murder among humans, is something I’ve seen elsewhere in fantasy literature (off the top of my head, it is basically the plotline of Sarevok Anchev, the lead antagonist in “Baldur’s Gate,” one of my favorite computer games of all time). But I think Tan & Baldisimo do an incredibly good job of depicting how it unfolds; to me, much more convincingly than in BG.

Volume #3 also gets high marks for giving a super awesome backstory for the Kambal, the masked twins who serve as Trese’s sidekicks. (I won’t spell it out because spoilers!) It also incorporates the ongoing Hukbalahap communist rebellion in a cool way. We also get the metal-as-fuck backstory of Trese’s signature weapon, the Sinag. The only thing that left me hanging was Tan skipping entirely over what happens to Trese during her initiation in the balete tree, but certainly this is just to reveal more later on!

My Goodreads rating: 5 stars