Beth Cato's Reviews > Salsa Nocturna: Stories

Salsa Nocturna by Daniel José Older
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's review
May 14, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, anthology, early-reviewers
Read from May 14 to 21, 2012

I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

These interlocking paranormal short stories revolve around a unique cast of mostly-Hispanic characters including Carlos, a half-dead detective working for the Council of the Dead, and Gordo, a rotund musician. The characters are colorful and lifelike, even if many of them are dead (or in the case of Carlos, half-dead). The dialogue is brilliant. Older has an obvious ear for accents and speech, as I felt like I was truly listening to these people talk.

This is a New York City where ghosts are everywhere. The Council is not to be trusted. Mythical creatures can float from one realm to the next. Shenanigans ensue.

With most short story anthologies, the works and authors are diverse. That's not the case here. Each story builds on the previous, creating loose continuity. The danger with this is that it starts to feel like a novel, but here there was no climax, no resolution. I enjoyed the stories but I felt like they built up to something that never came to pass. I read the last story (which was the only one in the book I had read before, in a previous Crossed Genres anthology) and thought, "That's it?" I had to remind myself that they were short stories, not meant to tie together in a completely cohesive way, and yet the ending still felt flat to me.

That should be to the author's credit--his stories were so good, I wanted something more. And with a world as culturally rich as this, there is a lot more potential. Older is an author to look for in the future.
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