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Under a Crimson Moon.

Under a Crimson Moon

Lucha Corpi

Arte Publico Press, University of Houston, 452 Cullen

Performance Hall, Houston, TX 77204-2004

ISBN: 1558854215 $12.95

With a tenure of over thirty years as a teacher in the Oakland Public School Neighborhood Centers Program, Lucha Corpi also enjoys distinction as a poet, children's book author, and mystery novelist. She has won the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Prize, the Multi cultural Publishers Exchange Book Award of Excellence in adult fiction, and also was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.

Gloria Damasco enjoys her own prestige as the first Chicana detective in American literature. At the beginning of this tale of shadows and intrigue, a woman is found after falling down a shrub-filled cliff. She is in a coma, and it is up to private investigators Justin Escobar and Dora Saldana to untangle the clues. The story harkens back thirty years to the corruption of two F.B.I. agents; one of them now a dying old man. But the second F.B.I.. agent is a rapist, and leaves a trail of despair and desolation among the women he attacked:

"'I opened my eyes again the next morning in the hospital. I had been raped, a nurse told me. Should she contact the police on my behalf? Did I want to press charges? Back then nurses and doctors were not required to call the police if they suspected rape. It was up to me. All I could think of was what my mother would say if she found out. I said no, no cops. All I could feel was a great sadness at his betrayal. Why had he, this man I loved, let that happen to me? I hated him.'"

Lucha Corpi packs this tale with a history of the Chicano movement in the United States and the struggles of the Chicano brown power group in Denver and the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico that took place in conjunction with the Civil Rights movement of the late 1960's and early 1970's. Police brutality was a major concern back then, and from this chronicle that Corpi provides, it was even worse for those involved in the Chicano movement.

Corpi writes a matter of fact narrative that underscores the deep passion underlying the events, both past and present. Her tale juxtaposes the slow demise of the innocent woman whose life was shattered by a man who should have been her protector. It is up to her son to see that justice is finally served, along with the detective work of Justin and Dora, who barely escape alive.
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Author:Glodowski, Shelley
Publication:MBR Bookwatch
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2005
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