NOMINATED FOR A BRAM STOKER AWARD FOR SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A NOVEL
2018 - Belinda Alvarez has returned to Texas for the wedding of her best friend Veronica. The farm is the site of the urban legend, La Reina de Las Chicharras - The Queen of The Cicadas.
In 1950s south Texas a farmworker- Milagros from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, is murdered. Her death is ignored by the town, but not the Aztec goddess of death, Mictecacíhuatl. The goddess hears the dying cries of Milagros and creates a plan for both to be physically reborn by feeding on vengeance and worship.
Belinda and the new owner of the farmhouse - Hector, find themselves immersed in the legend and realize it is part of their fate as well.
FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
Writing in breathtaking, atmospheric prose, Castro (Hairspray and Switchblades) merges brutal realism and supernatural terror to create a fierce, memorable tale of Mexican folklore and horror. In 2018, Belinda Montoya, a divorced mother in her 40s who sees herself as a monster and a failure, attends her childhood best friend's wedding at an imposing Victorian farmhouse in Alice, Tex. There, she meets Hector, the property's owner, who recalls the tale of La Reina de Las Chicharras, an urban legend about a hate crime that occurred on the farm decades before. The narrative alternates between the present-day wedding and the truth of what happened all those years ago. In 1952, Milagros Santos, an undocumented immigrant worker from Mexico, is subjected to racist harassment from the white women on the farm that escalates until Milagros is lynched. The farm then "falls into the clutches of a curse" as one by one those responsible for the murder meet their end at the hands of Mictecac huatl, the Aztec Queen of the Dead, who appears as a woman without skin. Castro uses this well-constructed narrative of supernatural retribution to tell an urgent story of the plight of migrant workers. Visceral and disturbing in the best of ways, this is sure to impress.
will change the way you see things
Read ASAP, but make sure the sun’s up first…
A revenge tale reminiscent of THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS and I WAS DORA SUAREZ, white supremacy is the villain and recompense comes from the gods of the indigenous peoples. A terrible crime was committed on an old plantation where Mexicans picked for white men who treated them like trash—so literally that a Mexican girl is killed by a white man, selfish and frustrated he could not have his way.
But death does not bring peace to the dead and the spirit of the dead girl —and her new, dark mother— haunt the plantation and the people there (and haunting is the gentlest of encounters. Filled with truly terrifying writing, scenes that leave you gasping for air, and characters that radiate their pain as much as they feel it, THE QUEEN OF THE CICADAS is a top-ten read of 2021.