Read as Part of CBR13Bingo: Rec’d. Inspired by Emmalita’s review.
This one is a tough one to review. I really wish both Cannonball Read and Goodreads had half stars. This is a solid 3.5. I’m giving it the bump to 4 but just barely.
I appreciated Emmalita’s review and others I’ve read. BookMarks collected mostly rave reviews about this book. At times, I felt like it elevated itself. The feeling of Mexico City in the 70s, political tension, Cold War flashpoint was real. The two characters…eh. They were kind of hit-or-miss.
I guess I had more of a feeling for Maite than I did for Emilio, though I felt like Moreno-Garcia’s attempts to keep them apart felt kind of gimmicky and desperate. Both of them kind of existed as expository characters, going through the different layers of society while people explain to them what exactly is going on. They feel like they’re reacting to the action instead of being a part of it. Since the book alternates between their viewpoints, it’s not always a good look. The story was like a car that sputters and occasionally starts.
But it is to Moreno-Garcia’s credit that it moves smoothly when it finds its footing. The prose is high quality and the story itself, though frustrating, does still manage to surprise at times. I didn’t think it entirely earned its noir distinction until the end.
It also helps to know some of the history. I didn’t going in and the Afterword explained a lot. Made me bump it up a star.
It’s a decent enough book, even though I didn’t like it as much as I thought it would. It makes me want to check out more of her work.