Monday, March 23, 2009
All Souls Day the day of the dead
After reviewing the Edgar Award nominees I thought I'd reread and review a book read in the past.
"Dia De Los Muertos" by Kent Harrington was one of the notable publishing events of 1997. Published in a limited first edition by Dennis McMillan the book is a collector's gem.
The story centers around the poverty and hopelessness of Tijuana.
With the Mexican economy in shambles the situation is right for smuggling illegals into the United States.
Vince Calhoun is a DEA agent who is weighed under by his immense gambling debts. These debts are now due to be paid.
Vince and a crooked cop from Tijuana named Castro are in the business of crossing illegals into the United States.
Vince is offered a deal. His English bookie, is a Machiavellian character named Slaughter. He tells Vince that if he crosses Frank Guzman, his debt will be forgiven.
When Calhoun and Castro attempt to smuggle four Chinese girls across the border fate deals a nasty blow.
First, the car gets stuck against a rock in the sand, with the car's axle caught against a rock they have a difficult time attempting to free the car from its situation. As they are doing this, they are discovered by a rat patrol, who scout the desert looking for people to rob, there is a shoot out and Calhoun and Castro escape to Tijuana. There they learn that the girls are mules, full of heroine that they have ingested to get it over the border.
Showing a streak of ethics, Calhoun knows that if he leaves the girls in Tijuana and they are found, the girls would be ripped apart to get the drugs. Knowing this, Calhoun decides to get them across the border for their own safety. Another incident happens along the way and Calhoun comes to the rescue using his DEA identification.
It is a plot driven novel with very little unnecessary dialogue, almost a Hemingway approach to the story. It is well done and if the reader can stomach spending time with a group of evil characters, this can be an enjoyable read.
Recommended for the strong of heart.