Hoodtown is lucha murder mystery by Christa Faust. It is set in a clever ghetto town where the masked culture of Mexican and Japanese wrestling is a lifestyle embraced by singers, grocery men, strippers, motel owners, barbers and all walks of life. In Hoodtown, your identity is tied up in your mask and to have your face exposed is the ultimate shame.
When a killer starts murdering Hood prostitutes and taking their mask along with their lives, the Skin cops treat the crimes as beneath their notice. Ms. X, a has been lady wrestler with a giant ass and a bad knee is pulled into the mystery. She's no hero but she gets caught up in solving these brutal crimes whether she wants to or not.
If you have ever enjoyed a Santo movie, this is your book. In fact, Santo is often referred to as a role model and inspiration. It is amazing how much creativity is invested into creating the world of Hoodtown. People pray to the Hooded Virgin. Barbers are skilled in the care of people who never expose their face. Everyone from the lowest bartender to the biggest wrestling star has a gimmick and a mask.
Faust acknowledges the showmanship and theater of the masked wrestling circuit but she also shows that the people involved are hard working proud people. The wrestling may be fake, but the bumps, bruises and glory are real. Ms. X used to be a great but now she is relegated to wrestling private matches with men who crave to be pinned under her giant lovely ass.
Although technically a murder mystery, Hoodtown has a lot of sex going on. Ms. X is a domme with her share of sweaty trysts. It was great to see a large woman as the sexual heroine. There is also an abundance of queer characters which was really welcome. Masked wrestling is kinky by it's nature yet so many authors try to pretend that it is all hetero machismo. Faust writes with the kink kept in.
Hoodtown is a great read. It is creative, fun, sexy and pure noir pulp.
I give it Five out of Five Pam Griers