Book Review: This Is Not Miami

Can I just say how mind-blowing Fernanda Melchor’s newest book is? I literally finished it and re-started immediately, feeling like: wow! What was that?! (In a very good way).

In “Aquí no es Miami” / “This is not Miami (coming out soon by @ndpublishing) Fernanda Melchor takes us to her hometown in Veracruz on time travel from 1991 to 2011 through addictive, powerful and shocking true crime stories. This is not a work of fiction, but snippets of very violent and scary events (with a touch of supernatural) told through their protagonists or people close to them. I am exactly the same age as Melchor so I actually remember watching those stories on the news, but reading them through her made me feel like I was there… sitting in a unassuming cantina (though I’ve never been to one) listening to these stories, glued to my seat, so completely immersed that my Pacifico gets warm and I gotta order a new one (- I actually had to pour myself two cups of coffee as they kept getting cold when reading the book, but I couldn’t take my eyes off for a second to sip).

I think we’ve all been there. Sitting one night with grandma or some elder relatives hearing their stories about something that happen to them growing up in a small town or someone they know. Spooky, you don’t want to believe in the supernatural… but why would grandma lie? That’s how it feels to read This is not Miami. Particularly, my favorite story “La Casa del Estero” about a haunted house near a creek, which will make The Exorcist look like a kids’ movie. So if you’re looking for the perfect October / Halloween read or you just love true crime, this is it!

Author: Carla Hafez

Reader of mostly literary fiction and own-voices fiction. Latina. Feminist. Amateur reviewer. Opinionated. Unapologetically progressive. Mom. Wife. Believer.

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