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Demons in the City of Angels: Geno Richter's War Against Nazis and Injustice in WWII Los Angeles

The internment of Japanese people during WWII, including those who were citizens of the United States and native-born children, does not sit well with Geno Richter. He fears one day we'd be fighting for the Nazis and not against them.

A Hardboiled Detective and Native Angelino, Geno Richter fights the Good Fight in WWII's Homefront Trenches

The blend of paranormal, science fiction, suspense, and mystery in the RICHTER'S WAR series makes for a thrilling atmosphere in which to tell Geno Richter's stories.

He'll claim he doesn't believe in the supernatural, but I have the feeling Geno says that because he doesn't consider the other-worldly forces which he encounters to be supernatural. They may defy explanation--for now--but that doesn't make them supernatural. To him, they are as real and treacherous as the Nazi spies and saboteurs he hunts down for the War Department.

Or as real as racial tensions in Los Angeles and California during World War II.

In preparing to write RICHTER'S WAR: Case of the Lady Crow, I was committed to bring real history and a backdrop of social justice into the story. These were important aspects of the first story in the series, RICHTER'S WAR: Case of the Japanese Alien, and help to define Geno's character, and help to raise questions about our country's identity.

Geno is open to these questions and they matter to him. He was born in Los Angeles around 1912, when his German parents emigrated from Bavaria and settled in Southern California.

As a child, Geno faced racist bullies who saw his German heritage as alien and inferior to their own. It is sad how, in a country of immigrants, each generation has found a way to demean new arrivals and to demonstrate the evil of bigotry and racism.

I intentionally set Case of the Lady Crow on the eve of L.A.'s "Zoot Suit Riots," a time when bigotry and racism boiled over into outright violence. In late-May and early-June, 1943, American servicemen clashed with Mexicans and Latinos, the latter being seen as "foreign," "un-American," or "suspicious." The Nazi plan in Case of the Lady Crow, which is set in April, 1943, is designed to foment this racial tension and disrupt the growing war effort.

Likewise, Case of the Japanese Alien brings up the internment of Japanese residents and citizens during the war, something that Geno knows is wrong, especially because it directly impacts people he knows. It makes no sense to him and riles up his sense of justice and equality.

For Geno, the demons that haunt Los Angeles are more than just Nazis. So, his War is much bigger than a battle against the Reich. It is a war to keep America moving toward--and not away from--liberty and justice for all.

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