Wednesday, July 2, 2008

TBR Stack Just Got Taller

Christa Faust (blog - Deadlier Than the Male) is the author of Money Shot and is Hard Case Crime's first female author. Money Shot is the story of a retired adult film actor turned agent to porn actors, Angel Dare, who finds her comfortable world unraveling though no fault of her own. Angel is an interesting character, unapologetic about her past career. The story is well constructed and paced and the first person narrative style and writing is terrific. It is one of my favorite books this year.

I found two earlier novels by Faust on Amazon (Control Freak and Hoodtown). They arrived this week and I haven't read either yet. One thing is obvious; Faust's heroes do not operate within "normal" society.

Her first novel was Control Freak. Following a murder case, hard-boiled crime writer Caitlin McCullough, discovers the world of S&M and her inner Domina. In the course of her investigation she finds

A perverse playground for the rich and twisted where anything goes and nothing is taboo. A place that for Caitlin begins to feel inexplicably like home.
Hoodtown will be, I think, very unusual to most readers. It is described as a lucha-noir novel. Lucha libre ("free fight") is professional wrestling as practiced in Mexico and other Latin American countries. The performers wear colorful full-head masks. So, lucha-noir is a crime story set in this world. What makes the story really unusual is that the characters maintain their lucha libra personnas all the time and do not remove their masks within the Hoodtown ghetto of masked wrestlers. The hero is X, a former luchadora, who is trying to find out who is killing Hood prostitutes and leaving their bodies unmasked. This is a really nifty hook for a story.

I read a bit about lucha libra several years ago when I started watching the Internet cartoon character Strong Bad at Homestar Runner. Strong Bad wears a lucha libra wrestling mask. There was also an episode of Angel (season 5, episode 6, The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco) that featured a family of five luchadores.

So many books, so little time.