By Gabino Iglesias
Publisher: Broken River Books
Pub Date: November 14, 2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
There are many things that make this novel stand out from the load of similar crime and gang novels. First is the main character. Fernando may not be what most readers consider a role model but he is honorable in his own way. He has values and faith. That is something the reader can identify with. The second thing is the language in the book. Almost half is in Spanish yet it does not slow it down. It flows effortlessly through the pages blending into the plot and action. I could read some of it even though I do not understand Spanish very well, it is the language of the streets that I am familiar with. Let's just say the Spanish I heard as a child was not taught in the schools. Yet except for occasional large portions of prayer, it is not only easy to get the gist but it places you there in the midst of the action and angst. And that leads to the third reason this book is so vibrant. The flow. It doesn't stop whether it is violent action or a tense conversation or the moving emotions of the past and present going through the mind of the protagonist. Iglesias have developed in under 200 pages a very real glimpse of life in these parts of the United States. The supernatural aspects are only a tease to the real messages in this book.
If I read Zero Saints last year when it came out, there would be no doubt it would have been on my top ten list. But I didn't. That is no reason to miss it. As long as we have urban life, as long as cultures collide, and as long as we tolerate an underclass of immigrants, this book will have relevance. I give my top recommendation to Zero Saints.