Most Americans have heard of the Great San Francisco Earthquake. Some may even be able to pull the date out of the cobwebs of history class memories. But few are aware of the scope of the disaster and how the damage and carnage was made many times worse by graft, incompetence, and greed before, during, and after the quake. Annalisa Passarelli is an opera critic for the Evening Bulletin. She’s also working undercover for the city’s most feared police detective; feared because he cannot be bought and is on a crusade to rid the city government of corruption. This story opens just days before the fateful earthquake and, coincidentally, the planned arrest of the city’s highest officials.
Dalessandro’s style is quirky yet entertaining. The author chose to write this story in both first and third person, with Annalisa playing the role of narrator. It’s a combination that works, although it takes a bit of getting used to, especially when the point of view changes from sentence to sentence. Still, the story is intriguing, the characters well written, and the main event… well, suffice it to say, it’s unsettling.