It’s war time and the City of the Angels is experiencing a great deal of influence and intrigue from religious, communist, fascist, and government operatives seeking to control the population or to overthrown the government or to find loose women to satisfy a sailor on shore leave or just to make a fashion statement in the Barrio.
The history of the Barrio, the pachuco, and the zoot-suiters make for fascinating reading. Add to that some rioting, espionage, combat, and baseball (not to mention a love story) and Thomas Sanchez’s novel is a fast mover with just enough nostalgia for the Los Angeles of the forties to make it really interesting.
Zoot-Suit Murders reminded me of two similar stories: The Day of the Locust and the movie Chinatown (not to mention all those wonderful Philip Marlowe adventures).
Thomas Sanchez writes novels that eschew arcane literary values and instead provide a good, entertaining story with fine attention to the visual detail of his subject. Sanchez is also in the movie business, so it makes sense.