A. E. Roman
Finalist for the Shamus Award for Best First Private Eye Novel!
Chico Santana is broke and brokenhearted after his wife, Ramona, leaves him. On New Year's Eve, he comes out of his self-imposed seclusion and runs into an old friend from St. Mary's Home for Boys, a member of “The Dirty Dozen.” Albert Garcia is now a waiter and a wannabe filmmaker, tangled up with rising film star Kirk Atlas and his wealthy, eccentric family. On learning Chico’s a PI, Atlas hires him to track down his cousin Tiffany, a beautiful Chinese-Cuban-American girl who has packed up and left her family, sending letters saying she doesn’t want to be found. It seems like easy dough, which Chico could use.
But on the night he gets the job, Atlas’s Brazilian maid falls from the rooftop of her apartment in Queens. Albert and everyone else insists it was a suicide, but Chico has a bad feeling. His search for Tiffany is soon thwarted by other family members, and more disturbing and sinister details come to light. Although Chico's being paid good money to look the other way, he’s driven to uncover the truth.
Chinatown Angel was a finalist for the Shamus Award for Best First Novel. A. E. Roman’s debut is a fast, fun read offering an authentic, vibrant look at New York City and the wide variety of people who make up its streets, bodegas, and penthouses.
I try not to judge, but from the get-go, I didn't like Albert's friend. Kirk Atlas, not his real name, was twenty-seven years old. He was already rich but that wasn't enough. He wanted to be famous. It was 9 P.M., January, a cold winter. I was sitting under red lights in the overheated cabin of a luxury yacht called La Pinta, docked at City Island, not far from what used to be Tito Puente's Restaurant. The music of 50 Cent banged out from overhead speakers, filling every corner of the room. Atlas sat, bopped his head and waved his arms in time to the music.
"I aim straight