Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: El Gavilan by Craig McDonald

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tyrus Books (December 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440531943
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440531941

Product Description


The news is full of it: escalating tensions from illegal immigration; headless bodies hanging off bridges and bounties placed on lawmen on both sides of the border. New Austin, Ohio, is a town grappling with waves of undocumented workers who exert tremendous pressure on schools, police and city services. In the midst of the turmoil, three very different kinds of cops scramble to maintain control and impose order.

But the rape-murder of a Mexican-American woman triggers a brutal chain of events that threatens to leave no survivors. El Gavilan is a novel of shifting alliances and whiplash switchbacks. Families are divided and careers and lives threatened. Friendships and ideals are tested and budding love affairs challenged. With its topical themes, shades-of-gray characters and dark canvas, El Gavilan is a novel for our charged times.

About the Author

Edgar-nominee Craig McDonald is an award-winning novelist, editor and journalist. His debut novel, "Head Games," was a finalist for the Edgar, Anthony, Gumshoe and Crimespree Magazine Awards for best first novel.

McDonald's second novel, "Toros & Torsos," (2008) was picked for several "year's best" lists. The third and fourth novels in the Hector Lassiter series, "Print the Legend" and "One True Sentence," were published by Minotaur Books. A standalone thriller, "El Gavilan," will be available from Tyrus Books in autumn 2011. McDonald's novels have been translated and published to critical acclaim in numerous countries.

His nonfiction works include "Art in the Blood," a collection of interviews with 20 major crime authors that appeared in 2006, and "Rogue Males: Conversations & Confrontations About the Writing Life" (2009), a second collection of interviews with authors including Daniel Woodrell, James Sallis, James Crumley, Elmore Leonard and Pete Dexter. A third collection of author interviews is forthcoming.

McDonald was a contributor to the NYT's nonfiction bestseller "Secrets of the Code." His short stories have appeared in several anthologies.

My Review

A timely novel from Craig McDonald revolving around the Latino populace of a small Ohio town and how the people there react to them.  Many of the Latinos are illegal.  They pack three families into single family homes and are placing tremendous pressures on local infrastructure.  The tensions are building.

Three police officers are at the center of the story and at the forefront of the action - two veteran sheriffs and one new police chief fresh off the border patrol in California.  Tell Lyon, the police chief, has no patience for prejudice.  His late wife was Mexican American.  The two veteran sheriffs, one of whom is called El Gavilan "The Hawk" are struggling to come to terms with the Mexicans in their districts.  When El Gavilan's friend Thalia, a Mexican American, is murdered, he forms an alliance with the new police chief to find the killer.  But evil forces are at work and alliances are tested. 

Great story by new to me author Craig McDonald.  I'm thrilled that Tyrus Books has joined the Net Galley family. I'm looking forward to many wonderful mysteries and crime stories.

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