I picked it up yesterday after finishing The Savage Detectives, that book of monologues of hyper poets in a mock-up detective novel. I knew for some time that Bolaño has read and praised the work of Somoza. I'm a third into the book and it's becoming clear to me why this recommendation is a good one.
Somoza, born in 1959 in Cuba, is a writer from Spain. He is a psychiatrist by profession before becoming a full-time writer. The Athenian Murders, translated from Spanish by Sonia Soto, is his first novel to come out in English. The book was originally published as La caverna de las ideas (Alfaguara, 2000). The title should translate as "The Cave of Ideas", which, considering the milieu of the novel, is an apt title. The novel is set in ancient Greece, in the time of Plato and his school, the Academy. Plato's allegory of the cave is a philosophical sound that issues from it, bouncing and reverberating in its pages.
It's quite possible the English publisher wanted to market Somoza as a crime writer. (His second translated novel, The Art of Murder, was originally called Clara y la penumbra!) Nothing wrong with that except that it murders, in a manner of speaking, the self-referential elements of the story whenever the title itself was mentioned in the text, via footnotes. Yes, there are footnotes, it's that kind of book. The notes are provided by the fictional translator of the actual text (his supposed translation) that we are reading. As given by an extract from one of his more than a page long footnotes:
The Athenian Murders, the novel I had just begun translating, was an eidetic text. She stared at me for a moment, holding one of the cherries on the nearby plate by its stalk.
'A what?' she asked.
'Eidesis,' I explained, 'is a literary technique invented by the Ancient Greeks to transmit secret messages or keys in their works. It consists in repeating, in any text, metaphors or words that, when identified by a perceptive reader, make up an idea or image that's independent of the original text. Arginisus of Corinth, for example, used eidesis to hide a detailed description of a young woman he loved in a long poem apparently about wild flowers....
'How interesting,' smiled Helena, bored. 'And would you care to tell me what's hidden in your anonymous The Athenian Murders? 
Substitute The Cave of Ideas to the title in the above and one realizes it's more faithful to this 'eidetic' novel of ideas. Here is a striking passage from the "translated" text itself:
There was a scream. Then another. For a moment, absurdly, Heracles thought they came from Itys' mouth, which was shut; as if she had roared internally, and her thin body were shuddering and resonating with this sound produced in her throat.
But then the scream, deafening, entered the room; clad in black, it pushed the slaves away; crawled from one side of the room to the other, then collapsed in a corner, writhing, as if seized by a holy madness. At last it dissolved into an endless lamentation. [10-11]
I marked this up because I remember a similar passage of a sound's motion in The Savage Detectives.
He whispered that he loved me, that he would never be able to forget me. Then he got up (twenty seconds after he'd spoken, at most) and slapped my face. The sound echoed through the house. We were on the first floor, but I heard the sound of his hand (when his palm left my cheek) rise up the stairs and enter each of the rooms on the second floor, dropping down through the climbing vines and rolling like glass marbles in the yard. When I could react, I made a fist with my right hand and hit him in the face. He hardly moved. 
I was wondering about the resemblance between them. And then I came upon this passage from García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude:
A trickle of blood came out under the door, crossed the living room, went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down steps and climbed over curbs, passed along the Street of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left, made a right angle at the Buendía house, went in under the closed door, crossed through the parlor, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs, went on to the other living room, made a wide curve to avoid the dining-room table, went along the porch with the begonias, and passed without being seen under Amaranta’s chair as she gave an arithmetic lesson to Aureliano José, and went through the pantry and came out in the kitchen, where Úrsula was getting ready to crack thirty-six eggs to make bread.
Blood and scream, the sound of slap. What to make of their trajectories?