Verdict in the Desert

By Patricia Santos Marcantonio

Publisher: Arte Público Press (University of Houston)

A “white” lawyer named Michael Shaw is assigned to represent Maria Sanchez Curry who is charged with killing her “white” husband. Ms. Curry is a United States citizen by marriage; however, she speaks mostly Spanish and requires a translator to get her through the trial.

This is where the protagonist, Toni Garcia, enters into the story. Toni is a college graduate looking for employment as a teacher in the summer of 1959 in Arizona where much bigotry and prejudice runs unchecked. She is, instead, offered a job working in the cafeteria but she refuses to take on this type of job after she has spent money and time to become a teacher. She does take on a job as a court interpreter to help pay the bills and this is where she and Michael Shaw meet. The story takes off on a tangent that is not expected.

The author has done an amazing job of capturing the outright open prejudice consistent during that time in our history in Arizona and most probably for other states as well.

Ms. Marcantonio weaves an intriguing plot with a lot of suspense and tension for all the various characters. My favorite type of story! The reader will quickly become connected with the people in the story and she uses great skill to tell a crime story. These two talents are a testament to the author’s skill in writing and also to her former job as a crime reporter.

The book was easy to read and the story flowed with ease. The dialogue and scenes were perfectly done with just the right amount of tension and suspense. It was a book that you wanted to read to the very end to see the outcome of the trial and the various characters. If you want a good book to read this is one to put on your list. I loved the book and the story. It was excellently crafted. Great Job!!!

The book was provided by the author and reviewed by Corina Martinez Chaudhry.

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