American Tropic

Thomas Sanchez. Knopf, $26 (240p) ISBN 978-1-400-04232-6
In Sanchez’s new eco-thriller, a serial killer in a skeleton outfit is offing locals who’ve inflicted harm on the island paradise of Key West, Fla. Somewhere offshore, self-proclaimed “eco shock jock” Noah tries to get people outraged about environmental abuses; on land, he wants to win back his wife. Meanwhile, Luz, a Cuban-American lesbian detective, struggles to get ahead of the killer while caring for her leukemia-afflicted daughter. As a second-generation cop, Luz knows the stories about her father slaying a similar killer, Bizango, years before. Could this be another Bizango, or even the original Bizango, alive and back in action? The killer’s identity remains mysterious to the end, which involves a secret lair in a Civil War–era fort. In Sanchez’s hands, Key West is a familiar place, with open-air bars and tourist traps, and his characters are a typically colorful bunch, including a dogfight promoter, a tough-as-nails female shrimper, and a cocky real estate developer. Sanchez has affection for the community, the action proceeds with cinematic economy, and the plot is tight. The excitement is somewhat undermined by instances of clunky dialogue and the too-familiar setting and cast, especially when compared to T.C. Boyle’s When the Killing’s Done. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/15/2012
Release date: 01/15/2013
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-62406-337-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-62406-341-1
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-4000-7690-1
Open Ebook - 121 pages - 978-0-307-96138-9
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