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I am also a reader of mysteries, suspense novels and history as well as biographies so I was rather intrigued when Dr. East Los Angeles was a community caught in the middle of the urban riots between Mexican Americans and the white power structure. A major spokes person for this community was Ruben Salazar, an activist writer for the Los Angeles Times who was killed when struck by a tear gas canister when he was inside a bar during a riot in August of The charge to Alejandra is to write a brief piece to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Ruben Salazar.

That would seem easy enough until all hell breaks loose as Alejandra begins to uncover what may be the murder of a reporter to hide a series of sex crimes. In between the investigation for the story is a concurrent story; that of how Alejandra, with the assistance of an apparition of both Jesus and Mary, becomes a super heroine through the magic of lipstick. The scene, as laid out by Nieto, of the interactionbetween Alejandra and the two holies is worth the price of the book.

It is, as we say in west Texas, a hoot. It may also lead the reader to reconsider how they view prayer and its significance in our religious orientation.


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Nieto has presented us with a character that is full of the flaws that are all-too-common to us; we are humans. However, her character, Alejandra is on a mission to embed her story of Ruben Salazar within the framework of social justice.


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Nieto does not spare the reader the gritty nature of crime and does not present a small body count. There is murder and mayhem throughout the story but in the middle of this chaos stands Alejandra.

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I can only hope, that like Indy Jones, there are many more cultural based stories to be told by a biologist with a sense of her Chicanismo and a gift for fiction. I was a bit skeptical when I was approached to review The Pig Behind the Bear, a crime mystery for young adults. Briefly, the story takes place in Los Angeles, California, in the year These characters are right out of a Robert Rodriguez film: compelling, funny, imperfect, and utterly authentic.

Carol Peletier (TV Series)

But read it yourself first. Congratulations to Ms. Nieto on her first work of fiction.

Five Stars! Maria Nieto has managed to write a charming story that tackles huge cultural issues such as the assassination of Ruben Salazar.

About the Book

New Releases. The Exiles and Other Stories. Notify me. Description Thirteen stories set in the Argentinian frontier deal with workers, businessmen, immigrants, and Indians show more. Product details Format Paperback Dimensions Other books in this series.

The Exiles and Other Stories by Horacio Quiroga

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