Wednesday, June 25, 2008

REVIEW: Soft Money

Title: Soft Money
Author: K.J.A. Wishnia
Protagonist: Filomena Buscarsela
Setting: New York City
Series: #2
Rating: A-

First Line: Lázaro Pérez had a woman's heart.

A lot has happened in Filomena's life since she was last seen in 23 Shades of Black. She left the NYPD, had a brief fling with no-good stud Raul, began having drug and alcohol problems, and now finds herself working a series of low-paying jobs in order to take care of her 18-month-old daughter, Antonia. At the moment, she's working for a non-profit environmental agency learning how to stamp envelopes and get the least amount of bang for each of those non-profit dollars. Then a neighborhood grocer is killed who's always been kind to Filomena. His sister asks for her help, and Filomena can't say no. Now she's stamping envelopes, looking for a couple of low-life Dominican gang banger killers, and trying to track down polluters for the EPA. Super Woman she's not. She's exhausted, frustrated and guilty at every minute she has to leave her tiny daughter with a babysitter, but she's also driven to do the right thing.

Wishnia has quite a talent. His books are rich--funny, exciting, multicultural, pro-environment and pro-feminist. I almost got dizzy from the speed with which Filomena tossed out her sharp-edged opinions, and I found myself slowing down a bit so I wouldn't miss anything. I enjoy the time I spend with Filomena. She's not an easy character. In fact, she can be very abrasive. But with all our differences in culture and background. the two of us see eye-to-eye most of the time.

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