Book Review: “City of Secrets” by Kelli Stanley

Genre: Mystery / Noir

 (Miranda rocks!)

Rating:  4 WaterTowers

“City of Secrets” is an ARC sent to me by Kelli Stanley.  It will be in stores Sept 13, 2011.  Small caveat:  You may know that I adore Kelli. I will try very hard to be objective.

Pandora Blake is dead.  Stabbed with an ice pick, naked, with the word “kike” written in blood on her right breast.

It is opening day of the 1940 Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island, San Francisco.  Miranda Corbie, private detective, is on the scene.

After surviving “City of Dragons”, but, still feeling the effects of her close encounter with death, Miranda finds herself embroiled in another case that the police want to keep quiet, and they try to make sure Miranda is out of the picture.

Not an easy task….geeezzz, they should have learned that from the last time!

Europe is in turmoil. The Nazis are invading countries.  Britain may fall.  Anti-Jewish sentiment has reached San Fransisco and people are dying because of it.

Another body emerges…same MO.

Finding herself in an unusual situation, Miranda accepts an offer that allows her to continue her investigation even though she has major concerns about who she is helping.

I am not saying any more (except that Miranda is still mourning Johnny, Rick is a great friend, she still has the hots for Gonzales, she really needs to give up Chesterfields, she enjoys Old Taylor, carries her Browning, and someone new / old is about to enter her life). Whew…  🙂

To find out more….you will have to wait until Sept 13th to pick up a copy of the book (or an electronic version) and read it for yourself.

I will tell you that this is an outstanding book.  My mind was taken away to another time and place where the worries of the real world do not exist.

Kelli’s style of writing, again, took me awhile to get used to (curt, gritty), but, once I got into the rhythm (it did take 100 or 150 pages) the book flew by.

You will find yourself immersed in 1940 San Francisco: Market Street, the Ferry Building, Chinatown, the Embarcadero (see picture below of Carol and Kristen there in a happier time), etc.  And you will learn a bit of world history:  anti-semitism in the US, Hitler, eugenics, domestic terrorism, the rise of the Nazi’s in Europe (and in San Francisco), and, most fun for me, learning about the Golden Gate International Exposition and Gayway’s, “Artists and Models”, Billy Rose’s Aquacade, the healing waters in Calistoga (interesting parallel to “The Curse Maker”)…and so much more.

Damn…here I am back in the real world.  Arrghh…

PS:  I would like to publicly thank Kelli Stanley for everything she has done for  Her generosity, friendship, and support during these tough times will always be remembered and appreciated.  

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

Carol and Kristen at the Hyatt Embarcadero


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