Friday, January 30, 2009

Forgotten Books: HOODTOWN -- Christa Faust

I guess it's not too likely that a book only five years old and still in print is forgotten, but mostly you hear about Faust's more recent Hard Case novel, Money Shot. Those who liked that one should certainly take a look at Hoodtown. Hey, with Mickey Rourke riding that wave with The Wrestler, maybe this book will get more attention.

What we have here is a story set in an alternate America, or maybe a future America, where cities, and even small towns, have neighborhoods made up of people who wear wrestling hoods pretty much from birth until death. And after. These hoodtowns are ghettos of poverty and crime, whereas the Skin communities are pretty much like they are now. The people in Hoodtown revere luchadores, particularly El Santo, whose name is invoked in blessings and curses.

The narrator of Hoodtown is a disgraced luchadora named X. She's 43 and a little overweight, but she's proud of her figure and doesn't think she looks too bad. Her existence isn't an entirely happy one, since she's banned from the ring, and it gets worse when someone starts killing Hoodtown prostitutes and removing their masks, a crime that the Hoodtown residents regard as being as bad as the murders. Maybe worse. The Skin cops who work in Angel City don't really care about the crimes. If another Hood dies, it's nothing to them, so X is drawn into the investigation. What she finds is likely to get her killed, along with plenty of others.

So you have murder, masked wrestlers, some spicy sex, a fast-paced narrative, and a well-constructed world that's a lot like our own but different. Or not. You can read whatever metaphorical meaning you want to into the prejudices against Hoodtown and its people. I'm not going there.

If you liked Money Shot and you're waiting eagerly for another Christa Faust novel, wait no longer. Get this one. I'll bet you won't be disappointed.

This post #8001. What a lot of time I've wasted!

10 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

SOunds great and I'm not surprised.

Gerard said...

Sounds weird and I'm not surprised.

Scott Parker said...

Sounds like I'm going to have to buy this book because both libraries here in Houston don't have it.

Bill Crider said...

It's still available on Amazon.

Todd Mason said...

Faust in LOVE AND ROCKETS territory, I see. Think of it, Bill, as enriching the rest of us, even when Hiltoning.

Christa Faust said...

First off, thanks for reminding people about Hoodtown. Second, the best way to get a copy is direct from the publisher at:

http://www.frompartsunknown.net/

Gerard said...

Second, the best way to get a copy is direct from the publisher

Done.

Mack said...

After I read Money Shot I bought Hoodtown and enjoyed it. Christa develops a unique culture and sets an interesting mystery in it. I was really rooting for X.

If you are interested in a crime story that explores BDSM in a pretty explicit way you can read Control Freak which I think is her first novel. Part of the story features pre-Internet information technologies which I found quite interesting.

I use the word "interesting" too much.

Bill Crider said...

Sounds . . . interesting.

Mack said...

It is. I wrote about it somewhere and need to transfer it over to my blog.

One of the reasons I like Faust's books is that they can put the reader outside their comfort zone. Control Freak more so than Hoodtown or Money Shot.