Something in Vallarta

Robert Richter, Author Permanent Press (NY) $24 (208p) ISBN 978-1-877946-09-7
One part Raymond Chandler and two parts Hunter Thompson, Richter's atmospheric first novel introduces us to Cotton Waters, an expatriate gringo beach bum who is in Mexico illegally, reads Thoreau and Emerson and wishes his biggest worry were where his next cerveza was coming from. Unfortunately, he's about a peso away from flat broke and must find a job. While perusing the want ads, he reads about an oyster diver whose body has washed ashore. Obviously a murder, the death has been ruled accidental because homicide hurts business in the resort communities of the Mexican Riviera. Eventually Waters is employed by Johnny Finch, a flashy and obnoxious resident of Gringo Gulch, the wealthy American section of Puerto Vallarta. Finch thinks his live-in girlfriend is cheating on him and he wants her followed. Of course, the murder and Waters's new job turn out to be related in a crackerjack plot involving corrupt police, drugs, porn films and sunken treasure. Richter, himself a former expat, successfully evokes the milieu of rich Americans abroad who seek to replicate the country they left behind to the exclusion of the locals. He also captures the flavor of a Mexico where ``manana'' is the operative word. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
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