This is my review of Daniel Jose Older’s Midnight Taxi Tango. First, I recommend going back here and reading my review of the first novel in this series Half-Resurrection Blues: A Bone Street Rumba Novel.
The short version goes like this. I devoured about half the novel when it came in the mail, threw it on the floor and just sat muttering, “this motherfucker right here…” it is an excellent follow up to Half-Resurrection Blues. If grown folks urban fantasy and magic is what you like, this shit right here is what you want.
Okay, so I’m going to put a read more cause thar b spoilers and it’s about to get nerdy as hell up in here.
No, seriously, I’m about to dork out on a whole other level and if you want to not witness my nerd meltdown.
Y’all been warned.
I’m not going to do a play by play plot review.
So we need to talk about Daniel’s women. The women he writes have in fact fucked it up for other male authors in genre fiction that I read.
We need to talk about Kia. The way he writes Kia with her swag and attitude and that tenderness inside that she works so hard to protect with said attitude and shit just gutted me. That is how we do representation y’all. Kia with her swag and her heart and her just getting to be woken up sexuality is the kind of lil Black girl I was to a degree.
I’ll go out on a limb and say lots of Black women reading Kia had to do what I did and take a time out to look back at ourselves when we were that age. Trying to put it on boys we liked, trying not to let folks see us cry, trying to feel fly, dealing with 24 hour bullshit of one kind or another.
Honestly, the depiction of Kia is fucking sublime.
I will forever point to this particular book when I see people complain or whine about not being able to write any level of other.
This author *who is absolutely my people* has that thing, there is not one woman in these books I find unnecessary. Not any who seem to exist to only further the plot of our main man Carlos.
As a reader, I find that to be the most wonderful thing. As I said when I reviewed Ken Liu’s book, for all the beauty I found in it the women just didn’t get to where Daniel gets his, if that makes sense. I feel like this is from studied work. The ways the women in this book are portrayed has been done carefully and with fine loving attention. This makes me feel valued and seen as a reader.
As a writer, my brain was just fist pumping away. It takes care and skill to do this. It takes probably fucking it up a few times and having someone say, the fuck is this? And then it takes doing it over until it’s right. This is right.
Moving it along.
There are shorts that intersect with this world and I just love that. I love reading a large body of an author’s work and getting those touches of the worlds. You could read Skin Like Porcelain Death and be in that world without reading the books and enjoy it. By the way, that is my favorite short story by him, read it.
Next we have to talk about the character Reza whom, I’m terribly in love with. Reza lends this book a beautiful layer of noir grit that delights me. So far Reza’s magic extends to being well armed and dapper as fuck. I want Reza to be my girlfriend. I want to go into battle with her, read this here from the story linked above:
Something else I’ve learned: I take power from my dapper. Perhaps I have some well-dressed angels watching over me, whoever they are, but when I have my slick on full charge I am unstoppable in combat. It’s just how things work for me. And now my pants are definitely ruined, I’ve probably got some awful fungus living in my sock and who knows what else?
I mean…come on.
Honestly okay, this is where shit is gonna get real nerdy.
Remember when I talked about Welcome to Bordertown.
Stay with me.
Okay, now imagine The Bone Street Rhumba world done like that?
I mean, it is recognizable. It would be amazing. This is the type of world where I would be able to read (write maybe) and it would be magnificent. Honestly, I thought this when I was recc’d something by Daniel a couple of years ago and after reading more of his work in this world y’all, I’d fuckin die.
If y’all have been here for a while, you know I’m a big geek and my weird desires for literary things to happen just, well it runs wild.
Also, since the last time I had a nerd freakout review a few folks asked, it’s not because I kinda know him. Like I’m sure we could have a drink and some laughs, but this is not about that.
This is about how exciting I think his work is. It hits the right notes for me as both a consumer and a creator.
I told him this a while back on twitter, but his work is part of why I started venturing back into the urban fantasy work. His world that he’s created is a mirror to the type of world I work in. Bad words, sex, heartbreak, friendships, weird fuckin people.
Just, fuck I love his work.
So read it.
His work and other works in this realm of genre, give me hope. They give me a vision of worlds where I can not only see, myself included, but that I can create and that is everything.
So go buy this fucking book.
Rec it to your friends.
Next week’s big nerdy thing will be about N.K. Jemisin so y’all should probably go check her out and get ready.