Hasta la Vista, Lola! Review
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Despite finding Gwendolyn Zepeda’s Lone Star Legend, less than fantástico, it did still pique my interest in Latina chick lit—so I decided to give it another shot. This time, though, I opted for a spicy combination platter of romance and mystery in Misa Ramirez’s Hasta la Vista, Lola!

Private investigator Dolores “Lola” Cruz is just finishing up her latest investigation when she gets a strange muffled phone call from her parents’ house. She rushes home, only to be greeted by the members of her entire extended family—all of whom are shocked to see her…alive.

Earlier in the evening, on the evening news, Lola was declared dead, reportedly found in an alley with a fatal head wound. But when she talks to the police, she finds that the dead woman looked nothing like her—but she was carrying credit cards and identification with Lola’s name and address on them.

Feeling violated—and concerned that the killer may be looking for the real Dolores Cruz—Lola sets out to figure out who this other Dolores was and why she was killed.

Hasta la Vista, Lola! could have been called My Big Fat Mexican Mystery—because it has the same mix of culture, family drama, and romance as Nia Vardalos’s charming Greek chick flick (with plenty of mystery and suspense thrown in for extra flavor). Lola’s family even owns a Mexican restaurant, where the extended family tends to work and congregate together. Their togetherness makes for all kinds of fascinating family interaction, with Lola’s grandparents reigning supreme over their children and grandchildren—and anyone who happens to step inside the restaurant.

The Cruz/Falcón family gives the story all kinds of cultural flair—as does their dialogue. Since the abuelos rarely speak English (and the rest of the family tends toward Spanglish), it helps if you understand un poquito español. It’s not necessarily critical—since you’ll most likely be able to figure out what the characters are talking about without knowing exactly what they’re saying—but I was definitely thankful for my three years of Spanish classes.

Of course, there’s more to Lola than just her family dynamics. There’s also an interesting story of murder and identity theft—which, while not without its flaws and plot holes, makes for entertaining reading. But the other Dolores Cruz isn’t the book’s only mystery. Lola also has her own personal mystery to solve—what to do about her feelings for Jack Callaghan, the gorgeous reporter who just can’t seem to commit. And then there’s her boss, Manny Camancho, who’s tough and scary…and dangerously attractive—though he, too, is a bit of a mystery.

Though Lola sometimes seems a bit too fanatical about her MAC makeup and her Victoria’s Secret lingerie, she’s a likeable chick lit heroine—one who somehow manages to balance her demanding job, her crazy family, and her could-be relationship with Jack. So if you’re in the mood for a light mystery with a little Latina flavor, be sure to pick up a copy of Hasta la Vista, Lola!

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