This review originally appeared at New Pulp.
Rafael Navarro's excellent cover to Hoodtown.
Pulp heroes come in many shapes and sizes. Some are good people, some aren’t. Some are masters of a thousand disciplines, while others are the kind of guy that has to constantly fight to win.
Then there is X, the rather unique hero of Christa Faust’s Hoodtown.
X used to be a professional wrestler, a luchadora. She is a masked wrestler in a society of masked individuals, an entire America/Mexico border city filled with thousands of people that always wear la mascara, the ceremonial mask of Mexican lucha libre.
A former wrestler with a bad knee, X now finds herself working as a dominatrix in the title town. She also ends up working as a fixer, as she exchanges favors to her friends in lieu of money. This quickly loops her in to the murder mystery that drives the action mystery of the rest of the book.
Someone is killing the masked prostitutes of Hoodtown. But they aren’t only killing them; they are also stealing their masks. The mask is a sacred relic to the people of Hoodtown, and the theft is the ultimate insult to the murderer’s victims.
X isn’t much of a detective. She pummels and fights her way to most of her answers over the course of the tale. An unmasked (or ‘skin’) cop named Cray and an old lover help her along the way.
She begins to suspect the killer might be a person from her past, a luchador that went bad. But as she gets closer to uncovering the truth about the killings, she starts to learn that finding the murderer might open questions she never wants answered.
Hoodtown combines pulp, noir and lucha libre in to a unique pulp thriller. But like all Faust’s work this isn’t for children or for the faint of heart. Faust makes a world that is truly raw in her tale, but it still stands out as a truly unique experience in the world of new pulp.
Wrapped in a gorgeous cover by Rafael Navarro, Hoodtown is now available in print and on Kindle. Highly Recommended.