Max Martinez, Author Arte Publico Press $22.95 (294p) ISBN 978-1-55885-199-3
The sexual gambles, muddled thought processes and penchant for trouble that distinguish Martinez's impetuous, beguiling Chicano heroine, Priscilla Arrabal, contribute to the liveliness and suspense of this flawed but entertaining crime novel. Ralph Mason, an ornery, womanizing petty thief, was killed by a shot fired through a motel window in a small Texas town--the same town in which Priscilla winds up after fleeing a failed relationship in San Antonio. Priscilla, it turns out, had picked up Mason in a local bar and was awaiting his arrival in her bed when she witnessed the crime. In one of her many bad decisions, she hightails it out of town in the dead man's truck. Deputy Joe Blue and his sidekick, Hank Solis, lead the search for Priscilla, with Sheriff Jim Woodrow making the occasional appearance as the stereotypical big-shot Texas law man. Priscilla, however, has found refuge at the home of Paco Rangel, a mysterious, hunky vegetable farmer with an ill-tempered pit bull for a pet. Though Mason had plenty of enemies, the identity of the killer is no surprise. Fans of Martinez's well-received novel, White Leg, will find this story less gripping and the characters one-dimensional by comparison. Yet Martinez keeps readers engaged and amused by his quirky portrait of the insular world of crime and justice in small-town Texas. (June)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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