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by Daniel Chavarria
Akashic Books, May 2001
245 pages
ISBN: 1888451165

Daniel Chavarria of Uruguay is one of Latin America's finest writers. In a wonderfully translated work, English-speaking audiences are introduced to Alicia, Havana's most creative hooker. Alicia doesn't stand on street corners or have a pimp. Instead, she rides a clumsy old bike, one with an elevated seat. She has sewn special shorts that tend to ride up as she pedals along. Imagine how distracted a person driving an automobile would be to see her lovely orbs moving in front of him. When she becomes entangled in the pedal and crashes, then what can he do but rescue her? She insists on bringing him to her home, where her mother serves a fantastic dinner and Alicia serves a fantastic "dessert". And thus the trap is laid. For Alicia has grand plans to marry a rich man who will relieve her forever of cycling for a living.

Then comes the time when Alicia finds herself somewhat trapped when a man she ensnares looks like Mel Gibson and has magical sexual powers. Victor King and Alicia make a mutually satisfying agreement wherein she has sex with various well-connected men while Victor and his wife Elizabeth watch. She no longer needs to pedal that bicycle. The arrangement works perfectly until an unforeseen event involving Elizabeth. And then the fun begins, with a wonderfully depicted caper involving lots of double crosses and devious machinations.

I am not a fan of erotic literature and do not care for sex in my mysteries. However, in Adios Muchachos, the sex is integral to the plot and much to my surprise, I found that it worked for me. Alicia is a highly intelligent woman who takes advantage of her assets. She and her mother are terrific business people. And as the caper develops at the end of the book, the sexual element is not even a part of the story.

The book was entertaining and fast paced. The sexual content may bother some readers. I found it to be a unique piece of work, delightfully different and charming.

Reviewed by Maddy Van Hertbruggen, April 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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