Bad Girls

Victor Santos (illus.). Gallery 13: S. & S. Jul. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9781501176814. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501176821. THRILLER
It's New Year's Eve, 1958, and Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista has fled the country ahead of rebel forces led by Fidel Castro seizing control of the government. For three women—gangster moll Carole, jazz singer Taffy, and mambo queen Ana—working at a ritzy, mob-run nightclub in Havana, the chaos presents a perfect opportunity to escape with six million in cash. Set over a tumultuous 12-hour period filled with twists and turns, vicious betrayals, and shocking violence, de Campi's (No Mercy) story explores the lengths these women will go to in order to seize the chance for a new life, as well as subtly examining how race and class divide entrap those living on the island. Illustrator Santos (Rashomon: A Commissioner Heigo Kabayashi Case) channels the late cartoonist Darwyn Cooke to capture the style and pop art aesthetic of the era, while also providing visceral action scenes.
VERDICT An immensely gripping thriller, although a bit of historical knowledge about the era is helpful in grasping the full implications of the revolution taking place in the background. [Previewed in Jody Osicki's "Graphically Speaking," LJ 6/15/18.]

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