cover image Radio Muerte

Radio Muerte

Leopoldo Gout. Rayo, $14.95 (365pp) ISBN 978-0-06-169726-5

When Australian rare-books author Hanna Heath travels to Sarajevo to restore the legendary Sarajevo Haggadah, she gets a lot more than she bargained for. The beautiful book was rescued during a Serb bombing by Muslim librarian Ozren Karaman, and Hanna ends up deeply humbled by his suffering after their too easily launched affair. Eventually, she's led into her own past, where she unearths the truth about the father she never knew. What the reader gets in the meantime is an intriguing history of the Haggadah itself, revealed through artifacts accumulated over time and things the book has lost. Each story is engrossing and deftly woven into the narrative. This translation would make a good addition to most libraries. [LJ 11/1/07] Radio Muerte.(Ghost Radio)Radio DJ Joaqu\xEDn is the king of the airwaves thanks to his ""Radio Muerte"" show, in which audiences call to discuss paranormal experiences. A Mexican living in Houston, Joaqu\xEDn has a tragic past that comes back to haunt him when Gabriel, a childhood friend, starts sending him signals from the afterlife. In his debut novel, author and filmmaker Gout offers a clever, suggestive plot straight out of the sci-fi/horror playbook. The main characters (Gabriel, Joaqu\xEDn, and his girlfriend Alondra) are Latinos who feel more at ease in American subculture of punk rock, horror movies, and underground comics. The book has a strong, compelling start, with a series of ghost stories by the radio show's audience laying the grounds for Joaqu\xEDn's own unfolding mysteries-notably, what happened the night Gabriel died while playing in a rock band with Joaqu\xEDn. But after this enticing start, the storyline gets muddled. Characters' personalities give way to an unconvincing outcome mixing up parallel universes, nightmares, and pre-Columbian mythology. However, this book, although originally written in English, marks the very welcome debut of a new Latino talent with a promising future. Recommended for both libraries and bookstores serving fans of sci-fi and fantasy, and even YA audiences. Carlos Rodr\xEDguez Martorell, East Elmhurst, NY