Politically active Latinas at Berkeley in the ’60s discover 30 years later that politics is always personal.
Elizabeth Ortiz and Ramona Serna have been close friends since their days as college students and members of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement. So when Liz, now a prominent member of the community, asks Ramona to drive to a deserted part of Oakland and drop off an important envelope, Ramona obeys without asking a lot of inconvenient questions. Hours later, however, Justin Escobar, another friend of Liz’s and a partner in Brown Angels Investigations, is still waiting for the envelope to arrive when Liz calls him from Highland Hospital to say that Ramona’s been seriously injured after falling down a cliff at the appointed spot. Liz hands the envelope to Justin personally at the hospital, explaining that she needs to know the identity of her daughter Irene’s father, a man Liz knew at Berkeley but for some reason can’t identify. Swallowing Liz’s story, Justin begins to investigate a key to the safe and a man born Willie Ozuna but known as “Oz.” Meanwhile, Dora Saldana, a potential third partner in Brown Angel, is looking for her friend’s missing brother, Vincent Costantino, a writer working on a story that seems closely related to Liz and Ramona’s personal history.
Corpi (Black Widow’s Wardrobe, 1999) draws a few compelling characters and family dynamics, but, unfortunately, they’re obscured by prolonged and clunky exposition.