Books by Soledad Santiago

STREETS OF FIRE by Soledad Santiago
Released: June 17, 1996

Another political thriller short on thrills, from the Manhattan reporter and press agent whose previous efforts (Nightside, 1994; Room 9, 1992) have staked out the seamy streets of NYC and in the still-seamier corridors of City Hall. We can be pretty sure from the get-go that 38-year-old Francesca Colon has trouble in store: For one thing, the local diner where she meets friends for breakfast mysteriously explodes the very morning she's to start a new job with the NYPD Public Information office. Francesca is very uneasy about the job—Mayor Santorelli's willingness to cut social services and get tough with crime has made his administration unpopular with the city's impoverished Hispanics, and the Mollen Commission is about to break open a major corruption scandal within the force—but Francesca needs the salary for her two teenaged children now that her junkie husband has left the scene. Soon enough, however, she finds herself even deeper in trouble than she could have imagined. She begins an affair with Denzel Brown, a black lawyer who has brought suit against the police force for the death of a young boy, even though Francesca herself is partly responsible for concealing the evidence of police guilt from public view. Meanwhile, her daughter Alma returns pregnant from a vacation in Spain; her younger sister Manuela, who's only recently come out of the closet, is also pregnant; her mother is sick and needs an operation; and her stockbroker brother—the only real capitalist in the family— doesn't see why he should have to pay for it. As if all this weren't enough, Francesca's husband is back on the scene, now living with a group of squatters and determined to gain custody of their son. How will it all end? Pretty happily, as it turns out, though not with much verisimilitude. Obvious, shallow, and rather tedious. (Author tour) Read full book review >
NIGHTSIDE by Soledad Santiago
Released: Jan. 7, 1994

Somebody's stalking the young hookers of Hell's Kitchen, and no one but a former Central American activist nun seems to care. Really Care. Santiago, a journalist and onetime New York political press officer, is the author of Room 9 (1992). Street-child shelter operator Anna Eltern is plagued by, among other things, municipal budget woes, a backstabbing staff priest, insufficient space, her own family, which is straight from the talk shows, Roman Catholic ambivalence, Guatemalan flashbacks, an excessively smooth Washington politician, and historic sexual frustration. Fortunately for the teenage male and female prostitutes of 42nd Street, Anna is made of stern stuff and, in the face of the aforementioned plagues, never gives up on her quest to feed and shelter as many youthful offenders as come to her door. But open-door policy has been hobbled by the city's budget crisis. What is she to do with Colin, the preppy guitarist and hustler brought to the shelter by Jesus, the Puerto Rican Irish cop who may have a thing for Anna? What is she to do with Porsche, the beautiful, too-tough 14-year-old hooker who shows up with a kitten in her pocket? Flouting rules and policies, Anna puts Porsche and Colin up in her own crummy apartment and gets in big trouble. Porsche plunges to her death, and Colin seems to be responsible. It's up to Anna and Jesus to find the real killer, who probably slit the throat of three other prostitutes and may slit more. Is he Porsche's odious pimp? Is he the smooth-talking bureaucrat who looks just like Anna's long-lost clerical love? Melodramatic and very messy. Angles dangle, and the murderer arrives from Neptune. Read full book review >
ROOM 9 by Soledad Santiago
Released: Jan. 14, 1992

From Santiago (the paperback Undercover, 1988), the story of a mayor's administrative assistant who discovers the depth of corruption in N.Y.C. political life—and finds comfort in the arms of a dashing young Latino reporter. Marie Terranova, an attractive widow, has carved out a new life for herself following the death of her husband, an undercover policeman. Hired by the three-term New York mayor as his chief assistant, Marie thinks the mayor is Mister Clean. He's certainly never been anything but a gent to her. Her political reeducation begins when a disgraced, disfavored deputy mayor dives to his death from the window of his suspiciously expensive apartment. The deputy had been deeply involved in the construction of the city's new shelters for the homeless, which are going up in flames one by one. In packing up the late deputy's office, Marie begins inadvertently to collect evidence of municipal corruption on a grand scale. The pain of her awakening is eased a bit by her growing romance with sensationally handsome Raul Vega, a City Hall reporter who left scores of broken hearts when he quit the Miami Herald. Raul—who charms Marie's family, provides a superb role model for her son, and scratches her itch in ways the late Officer Terranova never did—is terribly keen to get to the bottom of the jerry-built shelter and suicidal deputy story, but Marie still believes in the boss—until she is kicked out of her office and out of the loop by the mayor's rotten chief henchperson. Then she gets mad. Steamy, slightly overwrought Andy Garcia vehicle offers fun for those who like to believe the worst about their friendly local politicians. Read full book review >