From Publishers Weekly
Mexican crime writer Taibo and a real-life spokesperson for the Zapatista movement, Subcomandante Marcos, provide alternating chapters for this postmodern comedic mystery about good, evil and modern revolutionary politics. Elías Contreras, a detective for the Zapatista National Liberation Army (and Marcos's creation), heads to Mexico City to investigate the case of a nefarious government-backed murderer named Morales. Taibo brings back one-eyed Mexico City detective Héctor Belascoarán Shayne (Return to the Same City, etc.), who becomes involved in the case when he learns of strange telephone messages about this same Morales. Taibo's expertise ensures a smart, funny book, and Marcos brings a wry sense of humor. The authors mix mystery with metafiction: characters operate from beyond the grave or chat about the roles they play in the novel, and Marcos writes his fictional self into the story. Literary readers will nod and smile knowingly, though serious mystery devotees who prefer more grounded noir might be mildly annoyed by the hijinks. (Sept.)
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Told in alternating chapters, Taibo's striking collaboration with the charismatic leftist leader known as Subcomandante Marcos is a curious animal, laying forth planks in the Zapatistas' platform for the rights of indigenous peoples against globalization and privatization with subversive, comic panache. Taibo's one-eyed detective, Hector Belascoaran, finds more questions than answers in his ongoing quest to vanquish evil, this time in the shadowy form of one (or more) Morales, who may have killed a ghost now leaving messages on answering machines around Mexico City. The quixotic Marcos' inspired contribution is Elias Conteras, an ingenuous investigator from Chiapas imbued with the soul of Sancho Panza. Elias' charming irreverence fits well in the anarchic eclecticism that governs the fictional universe of Taibo, whose fans will hardly be surprised to find a porn actor who looks like Osama Bin Laden tossed in with Pancho Villa, Barney the dinosaur, and Gustav Mahler. As one might expect, the political trumps the personal in this curious mix of crime novel and position paper, but it is just strange enough to attract a cult audience. David Wright
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