Pocket, Jun 2001, 12.95, 227 pp.
At twenty-eight, Alex Orlando feels she is living proof of inertia, as she seems to be in a state of perpetual rest. Following college, a series of depressing jobs and Europe, Alex feels parental pressure in Sacramento to get on with her life. She escapes when her Uncle Anthony Carmine Orlando asks her to house sit his Manhattan apartment while he does his annual pilgrimage to his Holy Land, Puerto Rico.
Uncle Carmi warns his niece that being a foreigner on this crazy island is dangerous and gives her a list of taboos that the natives know to avoid. Priority one is to avoid the neighbor, Christian THE FOREIGNER. Within seventy-two hours, Alex has checked off everything on Carmi's list having been there and done it, but that has led her to her new excitement, as an amateur sleuth trying to solve the murder of THE FOREIGNER next door.
This novel is a wild ride around Manhattan that will please the audience with its hip ironic look at “natives and foreigners”. The humorous story line focuses on the antics of Alex, a disenchanted youth, but is fun because the key players seem genuine. Everyone has a relative who has warned him or her in a Reefer Madness type of way. Everyone also learned quickly to use that relative's “list” as a fun guide. That is the premise behind the Carmi-Alex relationship that propels the California foreigner to step into one incident after another until the heroine plunges deep into a who-done-it. This fabulous mystery debut requires Meg Castaldo to provide more novels like this New York tale.
The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner