Nino, El

Douglas Anne Munson, Author, Doug Munson, Author Viking Books $18.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-670-83134-0
Armed with the belief that the less you think, the less you'll feel, Sandy Walker, a Los Angeles public defender in juvenile court, has long insulated herself against the hopelessness and tawdriness of her job with heavy doses of brandy and unsafe sex. But her defensive wall begins to crumble in the jungle heat of ``El Nino,'' a feverishly tropical weather condition melting L.A., and she is wearied further by her growing sense of futility with a caseload that requires her to succor a score of pederasts and sodomizers. Sandy can no more stop crazy Nadra Taylor from committing suicide than she can serve as surrogate mother to 12-year-old Malver Lopez, in whose eyes she sees the specters of her own abused childhood. Driven deeper and deeper into a surreal, nightmarish realm, she seeks redemption in the form of Jesus Velaria, a man unjustly accused of molesting his daughter, and whose life seems to converge inexorably with her own. But one wonders if he will be too late. This is a raw, sometimes ugly book that will distress but not fail to move. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
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