Book Review: Land of Careful Shadows, A Jimmy Vega Mystery
A few weeks ago, I posted an author interview with Suzanne Chazin, author of Land of Careful Shadows. Yesterday, I finished reading her compelling new novel, a mystery set in New York State, some of its characters a few of the undocumented millions of living in America.
Her protagonist, Jimmy Vega, a police detective uncoupled from his Latino roots by marriage, divorce, and the death of his beloved mother, investigates the apparent homicide of an anonymous woman pulled from a local river. Before the investigation reaches its sad conclusion, his life is shattered and the pieces coalesced into a new beginning.
Vega is complex, at times difficult and abrasive, at times soft and compassionate. Of the rest of the characters, I found Rodrigo, a Guatemalan suspected of the crime, to be the most interesting and sympathetic. The villain of the piece is not a person, but a culture that denies the people living within it.
Overall, the book is well-written and engrossing. I recommend it both as a mystery and as a window into the unfortunate and demoralizing world of the “illegal alien” in the United States.