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Rencor: Life in Grudge City Kindle Edition
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|Length: 190 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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In the city of Rencor, everything revolved around lucha libre. The good guy wrestlers--the técnicos-- were living superheroes, taking down monsters, madmen, and the rudos-- the bad guy wrestlers. All of that is in the past, but an unusual theft-- and a possible living mummy-- kicks off a series of events that lead to the greatest técnico of all, El Victor, and his arch-enemy, El Mil Calaveras (Man of a Thousand Skulls, Cal for short) working the case together. The result is a cross between Lethal Weapon and Lucha Underground, as Cal and Vic try to solve the case without killing each other.
Oh, this is so much fun. Written in Wallace's terse, sarcastic style, Rencor is a love letter to the wonderful, ridiculous world of lucha, where the lines of reality are blurred and no one is quite sure if their memories come from the monster movies they made in between bouts. Cal and Vic are both wonderfully engaging characters, and it's enjoyable to watch the two of them verbally spar even without the imminent threat of a monster attack.
In conclusion, I'd happily read another dozen stories set in this world. More, please.
That said, I believe this is his best work yet. Wrestling, lucha libre, Mexican culture and cuisine, and cheesy movies are all very important topics for Wallace, and it shows in his writing. Is this a silly, even ridiculous story about outrageous people in an unbelievable world? Yes, but it's also a very serious study of the real world and real values. Just like lucha libre, it only really works when it's both.
There are masks and superheroes and cheesy buddy cop dialogue and an actual reanimated mummy! And there's a deep study of gentrification and colonialism in the borderland. And there's an exploration of the various forms of toxic masculinity and what it does both to and for the men who are interpellated into it. And there's punching! And super cool wresting moves! And generations-old dynasties of heroic and villainous enmascarados! And an example of how legacy and expectation shapes our values and lives.
Read this book. Get me a sequel!
This story was great fun. I know very little about luchadores, and I loved the idea of them having been crime fighters. With the villain and the hero reluctantly teaming up to solve a crime, what could be better?
The book ends with a wide opening to continue the story, and I am hopeful we will see (at least) a book two.
It does end ready for book 2 and I for one can't wait.