A few edgy weeks in the life of a woman gang leader on the eastern edge of South Central Los Angeles.
When we meet Lola, she's hosting a neighborhood barbecue at the house she shares with her boyfriend, Garcia, the kingpin of the gang known as the Crenshaw Six. When a man known as El Coleccionista crashes the party to meet with Garcia privately, Lola is on hand to provide pen, paper, cookies, and coffee. At first she's surprised that the visitor, an emissary from the drug cartel they work for, doesn’t send her away when he starts describing the job, which involves interfering in a multimillion-dollar transaction between one of their other distributors and a mysterious rival supplier and finding out the identity of the latter. But then she realizes the truth: “To this man, Lola is not important enough to send away.” However, if the gang fails in their mission, it is through Lola the cartel will exact revenge. “We will take her, we will open up her stomach, and we will pull out her guts until she dies.” This terrifies Garcia but fills Lola with “ecstasy,” for she recognizes the mission as a business opportunity—and she’s the last to quake at a little disemboweling. In reality, Garcia is not much more than a house husband—Lola is the coldblooded killer running this show, the one who shot the last leader of the gang (her previous boyfriend) and the one who will cut off her own brother’s finger when he is responsible for screwing up their big mission a few chapters later, putting her life on the clock. At first, Lola seems like a glorious invention, the Latina daughter of Lisbeth Salander and Walter White, on a lifelong tear of revenge after being pimped by her mother for drugs and then living with the double invisibility of her gender and her race. But everything in this book tanks not long after the mission does, with mind-numbing repetition taking the place of both character development and suspense and the plot turning silly and slapdash.
Despite a striking premise and a strong start, this novel wears thin.