Goodreads First Reads.
La Chiripa by Kaimana Wolff
On the evening news, Vancouver lawyer Matt Wayne catches the story of a murdered Japanese tourist and instantly makes a decision: he will go to Todos Santos, high in the mountains of Guatemala, to hunt down the woman he hates.
In Todos Santos, Pira and her mother, Alma, keep quiet about their past, much as their Mayan neighbors, still in shock after four decades of La Violencia, now maintain El Silencio over an unspeakable history. But two aspiring journalists, stumbling onto the fate of the tourist, tell the sensational story for their own purposes, proving once again that lies uncover truth better than truth uncovers lies.
Only the shaman Natalya, dreaming of the vengeful, mythic Anton Kristo, foresees the wave of new violence about to engulf Todos Santos with the coming of Matt Wayne. Pira is plunged into a fight for her life and Alma faces a mother’s sacrifice -- to give up everything for a child.
The first thing I'd like to mention is that this is the second book in a series. This is a fact that I was completly unaware of until I got to the end and read the blurb about the author. You know how sometimes you're reading a book and although everything make sense it feels like you're missing something? And only later you find out it's actually the second or third book in a series? This happens to me a lot when I buy books from the bargin bin or when someone gives me a bag full of random books. Anyway, I did not have that feeling even once while reading this book. I had no idea and was quite surprised to know that there was a book that came before this one. It's written in such a way that it feels as if you are not supposed to know the back story. It's actually what I liked most about the book. The not knowing the whole story is what kept me reading. Without it, I don't know if I really could have gotten into it.
When I cracked open the book and found a cast of characters right at the begining, I was a little discouraged. I knew that meant there were going to be too many characters that are difficult to keep straight. I hate that. If I was reading this on my kindle, I would have never finished it, because the cast wouldn't have been so easily accessed, leaving me terribly confused. With a hard copy version of the book, it's not a big deal but it disrupts the flow of my reading experience. That's not to say that the author should have left it out - I needed it more than once. I just...hate when it's necessary is all.
The second thing I found as I continued to the first chapter - the format was really strange. It was a series of interviews, but you only got to read the response to the questions, not the questions themselves. It was really, really weird. I didn't like it at all, and contemplated not reading any further.
However, I would have kept reading regardless of any of the before mentioned facts, as when I receive free books, I feel obligated to read them. Even if they're terrible.
The odds against me liking this book were pretty high, but I kept reading, because I needed to know The Secrets. It was obvious early on that there was something big going on. The Secrets are what kept me reading at the begining, and eventually I got sucked into the story. I don't think I would have liked this book even a quarter as much if I'd read Broken Sleep first.
On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrificly Awful I'd give it a Very Good. As I haven't read it, I can't suggest that you skip the first book, but don't let not reading it make you miss out on La Chiripa. I'll be on the look out for the last book in the series, for sure.