ANGELS OF CATASTROPHY- A Book Review


root - Posted on 01 October 2001

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by George Tirado

I can't tell you how excited I was when I heard
that Peter Plate wrote the last book in the Mission Quartet,
Angels of Catastrophe. What a treat it is to see
another angle on such a diverse place, when
"most Americans pay taxes, vote, and think of death as
a slice of reality-television they can turn off when
they want to." But not here, not in the Mission
District, and most of all, not here in Peter Plate's
Mission.

The story is simple—a cop is killed, a petty
thief street hustler named Ricky Durrutti is the one
the cops are after. Now, put this problem in the
middle of the Mission District, add in just the right
amount of Salvadoran gangs, drag queen dealers,
junkies, hookers and Jewish gangsters and what do you
get—Angels of Catastrophe.

This book is fast-paced. Not only does Peter Plate
follow in that great line of noir writers like
Dashell Hammett, but he follows a tradition deeply intrigued with
San Francisco's seedy darker side.

On the street is another story, every dollar bill is marker, every
killing has a witness, and nobody gets away with
anything.

This is a story which is played out
everyday in a world where most will never venture, in a
place which is slowly dying. The killer here is
not a person, but it could be it's gentrification and
progress. When this is all gone and the Mission has
been replaced by more cop stations and GAP outlets,
and god-forbid, Niketowns, and the only ones allowed
to live here are millionaires, who will remember? Who
will find the poetry in the madness to come? And will
they feel the same pride as say Lonely boy in the
story when he says, "Who do you think rules Mission
St.?" He answers himself, "The motherfuckers willing to
die for it."

This book is a great read. I suggest everyone find this
treasure and read it. You will not be disappointed.

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