Glorette Picard is dead. Her body was found in the alley behind a taqueria, half-hidden by wild tobacco trees, but no one—not Sidney, who knew she worked that alley, not her son Victor who memorizes SAT words to avoid the guys selling rock out of dryers in the Launderland, not her uncle Enrique, who everyone knows will be the one to hunt down her killer—saw her die. As the close-knit residents of Rio Seco, California react to Glorette's murder, it becomes clear that her life and death are deeply entangled with the dark history of the city, and the untouchable beauty that, finally, killed her.
Just as Faulkner spent years populating his fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Susan Straight has captivated readers with her rich portrait of Rio Seco in novels such as A Million Nightingales and Take One Candle Light a Room. Rio Seco is a town deep in the groves, heavy with the sweet tang of citrus and the smell from the old morgue; it's a place some will never leave. In Between Heaven and Here, the final novel in her Rio Seco trilogy, Susan Straight tells a story of unforgettable intimacy and intensity.
The mysterious murder of a hooker kicks off this exquisitely wrought final installment (after Take One Candle Light a Room) of Straight's trilogy, set in fictional Rio Seco, California. When Glorette Picard's longtime admirer, Sidney, discovers her body in a shopping cart in an alley behind a taquer a, he fears the wrath or indifference of the police, and so claims her corpse as his responsibility, setting of a storm of consequences. Left behind to weather the world on his own is Glorette's young son, Victor, who memorizes SAT vocabulary words to drown out the crack dealers, and her uncle Enrique, who takes it upon himself to avenge her death. Straight plunges readers into a whirlwind of dialects, drugs, derelict homes, and delinquent locals as she weaves together the story of Glorette's life and death, while addressing weighty and timely issues like race, language, and the socioeconomically disenfranchised. Straight deftly avoids clich s and easy outs, and her refusal to vilify or sanctify the numerous members of her cast allows the experiences of each to resonate powerfully.