The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
What a delightful surprise! Zafón has resurrected the gothic mystery, and brought all the darkness and mystery of Barcelona together in a fine debut novel. The Shadow of the Wind may plod a bit at first, but once Daniel, Julian Carax, Fermin, and the rest get going, the novel’s four-hundred odd pages fly by. It’s all here, from illicit romance, evil policemen, leather masks, trapdoors, foggy nights, sinister hunchbacks, beautiful women, and more than a few verbal high-jinx.
Perhaps my favorite of the novels I read in 2012. Highly recommended.