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Uncovering the best of Latino-authored mysteries

By Jo Ann Hernandez

LatinaLista — A groundbreaking anthology of short fiction by Latino mystery writers, Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery, features an intriguing and unpredictable cast of sleuths, murderers and crime victims.

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Edited by Sarah Cortez and Liz Martinez, with a foreword by Ralph E. Rodriguez Ph.D., author of Brown Gumshoes: Detective Fiction and the Search for Chicana/o Identity (University of Texas Press, 2005), the anthology represents the reflections of the authors’ and society’s preoccupation with identity, self, and territory. The stories run the gamut of the mystery genre, from traditional to noir, from the private investigator to the police procedural, and even include a ”chick lit” mystery.

Featured contributors are award-winning writers such as Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Rolando Hinojosa, Manuel Ramos and Sergio Troncoso, as well as, emerging writers who deserve more recognition.

In Lucha Corpi’s story, ”Hollow Point at the Synapses,” her unique narrator — a bullet — describes the instant before killing a young Peruvian woman:

”I feel the pull of the hammer. The pressure mounts. I am now in place. The moment is upon me. Swiftly and efficiently, I will do what I must, what I was created for. In an instant, I am off, traveling at a speed reserved only for death.”

”The Right Profile” features a Miami private investigator who goes undercover to prove a deadbeat father can pay child support, and she delights in testifying against him in court. In ”The Skull of Pancho Villa” by Edgar-finalist Manuel Ramos someone has stolen the family heirloom and it’s up to Gus Corral to get it back. And in ”A New York Chicano,” a successful bachelor from El Paso, a graduate of NYU working for Merrill Lynch in Manhattan, gets his revenge against a xenophobic newscaster.

Hit List collects for the first time short fiction by many of the authors who have been pioneers in the Latino mystery genre, using it to showcase their unique cultures, neighborhoods and realities.

It is a collection of stories, that according to the El Paso Times, will “engross, entertain and fully satisfy any lover of mystery fiction.”

After reading it, it’s no mystery why.


Jo Ann Hernández is assistant Bookshelf editor and author of the award-winning “White Bread Competition” and “The Throwaway Piece,” as well as, creator and publisher of BronzeWord Latino Authors web site.

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