AMERICAN HEROIN by Melissa Scrivner Love

AMERICAN HEROIN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ruthless LA gang leader and elementary school mom Lola Vasquez is back, avenging old betrayals and dealing with new ones.

“Twenty-eight years old, no more than five-foot-three, ninety-eight pounds, some of that weight accounted for by her long, rope-thick black hair.” In a follow-up to Love's debut thriller (Lola, 2017), her tiny but deadly protagonist is now a full-fledged drug lord, running the Crenshaw Six gang and its heroin business out of a couple of apartments in a courtyard complex. Her sideline is administering immediate and severe punishment to anyone who abuses a woman or mistreats a child—and it is one of these do-good-by-doing-bad operations that kicks off the gang war that is the focus of this novel. Lola is now raising a little girl whose dead mother pimped her out for drug money (Lola’s spaced-out ex-junkie mom, still on the scene, did the same thing with Lola), and she has a new partner in the drug business, a white woman who's a Los Angeles prosecutor. Though Lola's tastes are generally modest—she drives a Honda Civic and invariably wears a white tank top and cargo pants—she has lots and lots of money, part of which she uses to send her daughter to a fancy private school where she is the only nonwhite student “aside from three Asians and a Nigerian family with lilting English accents.” Lola is obsessed with race and racism, so she has trouble coming to terms with her attraction to the sandy-haired, board-shorts–wearing dad of one of Lucy’s schoolmates. If she gives in, she’ll be cheating on Manuel, one of her soldiers in the gang, with whom she maintains a strictly sex, strictly secret relationship. It is a complicated story with many twists, and Love spends a lot of time trying to help the reader remember key facts and keep everything straight in a way that gets a bit annoying.

You can’t help loving this coldblooded murderer.

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-525-57312-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2018




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