The Socor­ro Blast

Pari Noskin Taichert
  • Review
By – January 30, 2012

The Socor­ro Blast is Pari Noskin Taichert’s third nov­el to fea­ture Sasha Solomon as nar­ra­tor and ama­teur sleuth. Solomon push­es her way into the role of detec­tive, this time in hopes of pro­tect­ing her niece, who is injured in a sus­pi­cious explo­sion. Rather than trust the police offi­cer and reporter whose work she finds sus­pect, Solomon takes it upon her­self to inves­ti­gate. She attempts to untan­gle the details of her niece’s roman­tic liaisons and her grad­u­ate study of explosives. 

Solomon is endear­ing because of her pas­sions, quirks, and foibles. She often regrets her own words as soon as the impas­sioned dec­la­ra­tions fly off her tongue. She is trou­bled by her family’s fer­vent reli­gious obser­vance. The novel’s open­ing words con­vey her dis­cour­age­ment about her own rela­tion­ships: If hell exists, it’s filled with old boyfriends.…” Eat­ing cans of whipped cream pro­vides her solace. When she is feel­ing less des­per­ate, Solomon delights in enchi­ladas smoth­ered in red and green chilis. She takes plea­sure not only in the spicy South­west­ern cui­sine, but also in the beau­ty of the local landscape. 

The author’s depic­tions of the cen­tral char­ac­ter and of the local back­drop ani­mate the nov­el. While much of the writ­ing seems hack­neyed, treat­ment of top­ics such as post- 9/11 secu­ri­ty mea­sures and info-tain­ment” broad­casts is some­what fresh­er. The rel­a­tive strengths of the nov­el are its quirky pro­tag­o­nist and vivid set­ting, rather than com­pelling intrigue or mystery.

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