Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I like 'Oro'. Who wouldn't?

Love of letters does bring back old friendships.

Case in point is my good friend and former colleague Juan Alborná Salado, whose novel El Oro de Manny Plaza I’m just finishing reading. Some would say it’s a little late to comment about it. After all, it was published about eight years ago. But that’s a testament to our disconnections. But as we say in Spanish, “Nunca es tarde si la dicha es buena”, or basically, it’s never late to enjoy a good novel –especially a good detective novel.

Juan and I met many moons ago, when we both lived in the Washington DC area and worked as editors for Radio Martí, back in the late 80’s. We both shared the same taste for letters then, but we could hardly say we were working hard at being writers at the time.

More than 20 years later, Juan has produced a great detective novel whose plot develops mostly in Cuba Miami and where its protagonist, private investigator Johnny Astro, runs into the shady and deadly characters one would expect in a novel of the old, hard-boiled school.

I won’t spoil El Oro’s best side by telling you what it’s about or what happens to Astro and the villain Manny Plaza. Suffice to say that it’s a well-structured work that certainly qualifies as a page-turner you won’t be able to drop until the very end. Social commentary, as a part of that Chandler-style monologue so pervasive in this type of work, is witty, funny and strictly on the mark.

You wouldn’t want to miss on reading this. The book is available in Amazon, if you follow this link: El Oro de Manny Plaza

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