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Download Death at Solstice: A Gloria Damasco Mystery epub

by Lucha Corpi

Chicana detective Gloria Damasco has a ''dark gift,'' an extrasensory prescience that underscores her investigations and compels her to solve numerous cases. This time, the recurring vision haunting her dreams contains two pairs of dark eyes watching her in the night, a phantom horse and rider, and the voice of a woman pleading for help. But most disquieting of all is Gloria's sensation of being trapped underwater, unable to free herself, unable to breathe. When Gloria is asked to help the owners of the Oro Blanco winery in California's Shenandoah Valley, she finds herself on the road to the legendary Gold Country. And she can't help but wonder if the ever-more persistent visions might foreshadow this new case that involves the theft of a family heirloom, a pair of antique diamond and emerald earrings rumored to have belonged to Mexico's Empress Carlota. Soon Gloria learns that there s more to the case than stolen jewelry. Mysterious accidents, threatening anonymous notes, the disappearance of a woman believed to be a saint, and a ghost horse thought to have belonged to notorious bandit Joaquin Murrieta are some of the pieces Gloria struggles to fit together. A woman's gruesome murder and the discovery of a group of young women from Mexico being held against their will in an abandoned house send Gloria on a fateful journey to a Witches' Sabbath to find the final pieces of the puzzle before someone else is killed. Corpi weaves the rich cultural history of California's Gold Country with a suspenseful mystery in this latest installment in the Gloria Damasco Mystery series.
Download Death at Solstice: A Gloria Damasco Mystery epub
ISBN: 1558855475
ISBN13: 978-1558855472
Category: Mystery
Subcategory: Mystery
Author: Lucha Corpi
Language: English
Publisher: Arte Publico Pr; F First Edition edition (September 30, 2009)
Pages: 239 pages
ePUB size: 1674 kb
FB2 size: 1993 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 313
Other Formats: txt lrf doc rtf

Death at Solstice by Lucha Corpi blends an exciting combination of inexplicable accidents, thefts, ghosts, a ghost horse that belonged to an infamous bandit named Joaquin Murrieta, and a woman thought to be a saint. The story builds quickly and moves faster and faster. All the while, Gloria Damasco must attempt to figure out where her latest vision fits into the puzzle. Whose dark eyes are watching her? Who is the phantom horse and rider? Why does she feel as if she's trapped underwater?

Gloria Damasco is a private investigator with enough clairvoyant ability to help her solve cases and just enough doubt not to trust her intuition entirely. In Premonitory Predispositions, she explains that most people don't understand clairvoyance, which she refers to as her dark gift.

...My visions weren't a tidied bunch of related scenes laid out, like a classic story, in a linear narrative. They varied from images to smells and sounds that bombarded my dreams. My subconscious somehow sorted them out and stored them until, if ever, I worked on a related case.

Nevertheless, life is relatively normal most days, for someone who is shot at from time to time. Her new husband, Justin, is also a PI, and their relationship is mature, healthy, loving, and realistic. In fact, all of the characters behave credibly and even have credible faults--including the heroes, witches, and smugglers.

The first thing that impressed me about Corpi's writing is that I didn't feel lost, even though this is the third Gloria Damasco mystery. There was no need to go back and catch up. You won't miss all the fun of the wedding in a previous book either. Just wait until you read about the Baker from Hell that ran away with the wedding cake. You'll feel like you are among the guests watching the bride chasing the cake and the mariachis chasing the bride, while the Rockin' Jalapeno Band continues to play. No one would want to miss that!

The second thing I noticed is intriguing California Gold Country cultural history and picturesque descriptions of California's Shenandoah Valley, woven around a protagonist who is a strong, successful woman. She is also self-employed in a challenging non-traditional career. What's more, Gloria Damasco is recently married, physically active, and heading into menopause. Some reviews refer to Gloria as Hispanic. Others say Chicana. Either way, Gloria is a woman to admire. This book has all the features of the latest boomer lit without excess drama, which means men will also enjoy it.

Death at Solstice is an excellent story, and I look forward to reading more by Corpi. The one area that will give some readers a problem is the frequent use of Spanish. Many long passages have no translation, and that's a major interruption in the story for those who don't speak Spanish. Of course, the same is true for Spanish speakers, who may find constant translation to be intrusive. For the audience with Spanish language skills or a Hispanic heritage, the story offers familiar language and cultural behavior, along with an intriguing mystery. For those without Spanish language skills, you can still enjoy the story. It's also an entertaining way to learn more cultural history.

Texas readers may be interested to know that Arte Publico Press at the University of Houston published all five of Corpi's books. Death at Solstice is possible because of grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance and the Exemplar Program, a program of Americans for the Arts in collaboration with the LarsonAllen Public Services Group, funded by the Ford Foundation. You can read more about the mission of Arte Publico Press on Facebook.

by Penny Leisch
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
I've read all of Luchi Corpi's published books and I like them all. Having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area and gone to UC Berkeley in the late '60s, I certainly enjoy the sense of place and the element of nostalgia. Gloria Damasco is a fully-fleshed character; many of her themes involve some Chicano activism, past and present. Chicanos are still under-represented in movies and on tv, but in literature they have come into their own-- a fact I celebrate.

Other reviewers have given synopses of the book, so I'll just add that Corpi is a fine writer, Damasco a realistic protagonist. Corpi's books are good stories and also provide a good history of the Chicano movement for those who are ignorant of it and some of its sad and unjust history. I applaud Lucha Corpi and hope she continues the Gloria Damasco series.

Another Chicano writer I'd recommend is Manuel Ramos of Denver, Colorado.