Edgar-finalist Ramos’s spirited but uneven sequel to 2013’s Desperado finds Gus Corral, who has just gotten out of prison, working as an investigator for the author’s other series lead, Denver defense attorney Luis Móntez, last seen in 2003’s Brown-on-Brown. Móntez, an activist in the Chicano movement of the 1960s and ’70s, has long been Denver’s lawyer of the people, representing the disenfranchised and unjustly accused. One person in desperate need of his services is María Contreras, who approaches Móntez with a strange case: three years earlier, her husband, Sam, who owned a local watering hole, was apparently murdered by pirates in the Sea of Cortez. Now, an associate of her deceased husband has turned up demanding his share of an import/export business that she knew nothing about. Things get complicated fast as bodies start to pile up and word reaches Móntez about a prison break in Mexico and a possible fugitive headed toward Denver. The plot stretches believability at times, and the alternating first-person chapters between Corral and Móntez can be clunky and repetitive. Still, Ramos vividly and affectionately portrays the Mile High City’s Mexican-American heritage and culture. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/02/2017 Release date: 09/01/2016 Genre: Fiction
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