Friday, October 21, 2005

Cops and Robbers, Pimps and Liars

Tequila Blue by Rolo Diez ($13.95 Trade paper Bitter Lemon Press) Translated by Nick Caistor

Political and moral corruption never had it so good.

To paraphrase the subtitle, it's hard being a cop. Betwen the graft, the fencing of stolen goods, and the pimping, there's collecting payoffs, intimidating witnesses and indiscriminate sex. Then there are the wives, mistresses and children to factor in. Detective Carlos Fernandez of the Mexico City Police is only one man, but he tries to get everything done.

This stylish and funny hard-boiled yarn is a rollicking satire that moves at whiplash speed, with characters as vivid as blood spatter at a crime scene.

Fernandez's whole life is about the next peso -- and keeping his boss happy. Then an American with connections to a porn ring turns up dead in a hotel room and things get really interesting. Making money and getting to the bottom of the porn killings use up almost all of Fernandez' talents for lying, corruption, murder and sex, but just when you think he's up against it, he sinks lower and slithers out of another tight spot. But somehow, you can't hate him. And as you catch your breath at the end of this one, you'll shake your head and wonder what he will do next. But you cringe and laugh just thinking about it.