The Golden Gate is a historical hard-boiled police procedural novel that includes family drama and addresses a lot of buzzy topics like politics, racism, passing, and how the rich are treated differently. The story is set in 1944 in a fashionable hotel where a politician is murdered but has flashbacks to a previous death in the hotel in 1930. Could the two somehow be related?
This is a first novel and like many of those, it tends to veer off into tangents. The historical details are extremely interesting. In 1944, the world was at war. America was busy assuming that every Japanese American was a spy, but the German Americans were not. Casual racism and elitism were rampant. Enter a hard-boiled lead detective investigating a presidential hopeful’s murder in a supposed haunted downtown hotel. The detective is passing for white despite his hidden half Mexican heritage. His background is unusual and intriguing. However, many of the history asides seem to not relate much, if at all, to the main plot. For example, it was interesting to discover that Hearst Castle was designed by a woman but it didn’t add anything to any plot arc.
Overall, I enjoyed reading The Golden Gate. However, all the historical asides may be a bit distracting for true mystery devotees. 4 stars!
Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.