Antonio Mercero Santos (Madrid, 1969) has a degree in journalism. Between 1990 and 1992 he worked for the LID and FAX PRESS news agencies headed by Spanish journalist and writer Manu Leguineche and he was a contributor to La Gaceta de los Negocios in New York.
In 1994 he started working as a script writer for the hit Spanish TV series Farmacia de Guardia. Since then, he has written scripts for other successful Spanish series such as Hospital Central, Lobos, MIR and Siete días al desnudo.
He also wrote the miniseries El pacto, directed by Fernando Colomo, and El Rey, directed by Norberto López Amado.
He collaborated in the screenplay for the film La vergüenza, directed by David Planell, and co-scripted two films by Gracia Querejeta, Quince años y un día and Felices 140.
He has published two novels, La cuarta muerte (Espasa, 2012) and La vida desatenta (DeBolsillo, 2014).
El final del hombre (The End of Men) is the first in a detective series featuring lead character Carlos Luna, a police officer who becomes Sofía Luna after a sex-change operation. The book is due to be published by Alfaguara Negra in September 2017.
The second book of this detective series, entitled Los crímenes de Madrid (The Madrid murders), will be published by Alfaguara Negra in May 2018.
El final del hombre (Alfaguara Negra, September 2017)
El final del hombre is a classic-style detective novel combining a crime investigation with reflection on the changing pattern of relations between men and women in today’s society. For years, women have been competing in traditional male domains. The role allocation of old in the matter of jobs, money, sex, children or relationships is rapidly changing, but there are still many asymmetries and injustices. It is as if the legions of women who are powerfully making their mark are watched by a tribe of men in a perplexed dreamlike daze, men who enjoy senior positions in business, politics, law and elsewhere and who still do not really accept that the era of gender equality has arrived.
El final del hombre is thought-provoking in this respect. The title itself certifies the demise of the male empire. But instead of writing a tedious essay, the author broaches the subject in a crime novel peppered with surprising twists.
The main character is a police officer in the middle of a sex change. The novel opens on Carlos Luna’s first day as Sofia Luna. Besides embodying the theme of the novel to perfection, the choice of protagonist is original too. This may in fact be the first detective novel where the lead character is a transsexual police officer. The character is inspired by the true story of an English police officer who had sex-reassignment surgery and who was rejected by those around her (at work, at home and in society). In the real-life case, the police officer dressed in men’s clothing when she saw her kids, but switched back to female dress for the other parts of her life. Sofía Luna, the character in this novel, does not go so far. But she does have problems winning the acceptance of her eighteen-year-old son who finds it hard to digest the fact that he now has two mothers.
In short, this is a novel on a very current issue that features an atypical protagonist who perhaps goes slightly against the norm.
As a counterpoise, the author has opted for a classically structured novel that opens with the discovery of a young male murder victim. In the next chapter Mecero describes the male chauvinist atmosphere that reigns at the Homicide Squad and then introduces the out-of-the-ordinary police officer assigned to the crime investigation. From that point onwards, the murder suspects file through the novel.
The thought-provoking theme of the book is illustrated by the other characters, an author of medieval novels, a fan of heraldry and genealogy, a professor of History and aspiring candidate for a place at the Academy (who has to vie with a woman for it), a lawyer who batters his wife, a group of neo-Nazis… all male characters who one way or the other refuse to move with the times.
And in the midst of it all, Sofía Luna tries to find her place as a woman. Her first duty is to solve the crime, but she also has to earn the acceptance of her workmates and above all to hold on to her son’s love.
Los crímenes de Madrid (Alfaguara Negra, May 2018)
Still convalescing from her male-to-female reassignment surgery, Sofía Luna returns to work in the Crime Brigade to investigate the murders of a number of Japanese tourists. The murderer paints graffiti on the city’s most emblematic tourist attractions and the victims, in addition to their nationality, seem to have something else in common: their asexuality.
Sofía delves into the world of organised travel with its small-time corruption and enlists the aid of the asexual community. Fairly large in Japan and growing in Spain, its members reject modern life’s hypersexuality and have in the starfish their favourite animal. A starfish appears alongside each and every one of the Japanese bodies.
Working under high media pressure, particularly after the disappearance of the Japanese ambassador’s daughter, a vivacious young woman with somewhat unusual behaviour, Sofia and her team need to identify the serial killer whose victims are all found in the hub of Madrid’s tourist district.
Sofía also has to rebuild the relationship with her father, from whom she has been estranged for years, when he gets into trouble for killing a man. The investigation unveils mysteries that will induce Sofía to wonder if she truly knows or ever actually knew her father.