Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chinatown Angel-A.E. Roman

Chinatown Angel
A.E. Roman
Minotaur, Mar 17 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780312375003

In New York City, commercial actor Kirk Atlas hires private investigator Chico Santana to find his missing teenage cousin Tiffany, Chinese-Cuban American. His inquiry takes Chico to Queens where Pilar Menendez offers him money not return Tiffany to Kirk. Soon afterward, Chico observes someone pushes Pilar from the rooftop of her Astoria building.

Chico learns that Tiffany's brother died from a heroin overdose and her father Samuel runs HMD Financial. The sleuth locates Tiffany and Irving Goldberg Jones, who is in hiding after writing a story about a person forced to OD on heroin. Still the case fails to tie together even as more deaths follow. He is abducted by Kirk’s crazy father, and an incriminating sex tape seems to be getting around the city.

This is a fun urban noir that lampoons the sub-genre as Chico is the man who has turned his life around since his wife Ramona kicked him out of their apartment and under the Pelham 123. Chico’s amusing asides as he escorts the audience through the boroughs make for a lighthearted tale. Fans who enjoy a tough hero will want to join Chico’s tour of Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.

Harriet Klausner