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I normally enjoy thriller mysteries and this one should have been a good one with its location: Santa Barbara but it just didn't do it for me. There is a certain amount of machismo built into the detective story and it can work with the story or it can hinder it. Castrato is all macho and not much of anything else.
Dan Fortune the private investigator in this tale is working on a missing persons case gone horribly wrong. While he skirts around the darkest alleys of Santa Barbara he laments how forefoot State street has become by 1989 He wishes for the dangerous days of the 1980s.
I know Santa Barbara of the 1980s and the 1990s. The biggest change to State Street came when the 101 freeway was turned from a five stop light road to a proper highway, raised above the city rather than running right through it. That process finished in 1991 with the opening of the State Street overpass.
A more realistic (though still flawed) depiction of Santa Barbara in this time comes in Sue Grafton's alphabet series, first published in 1982. Even though Kinsey is now living in the past, in her first book, her cases were contemporary.
My favorite depiction of Santa Barbara, though, is in the much sillier Christopher Moore book Coyote Blue.