by Stephen Randel
Length: 322 pages
Publisher: Knuckleball Press (August 19, 2012)
He is called El Barquero. He makes his trade along the border, smuggling guns and killing without remorse. As he faces his one last mission, his perfect plan is unwittingly foiled by Avery, a paranoid loner obsessed with global conspiracy theories who spends most of his time crafting absurd and threatening letters to anyone who offends him. That means pretty much everyone.
What unfolds is a laugh out loud dark comedy of madcap adventure stretching from Austin to the West Texas border, featuring a lunatic band of civilian border militia, a group of bingo-crazed elderly ladies (one packing a pistol nearly as long as her arm), a murderous and double crossing cartel boss, a burned-out hippy, and a crotchety retired doctor and his pugnacious French bulldog. Read it to believe it.
Randel does a great job of creating each character in his book. By the end, you might not fully understand each one-since they’re all quirky in their own special way-but you sure will know them. From the strange and paranoid Avery, who is sure there is some kind of conspiracy theory behind everything that happens, to the dark and menacing El Barquero, who murders without a second thought, leaving bodies in his wake--each character has a vivid persona as well as an integral part in this story.
It was amusing to read the events as they took place, from each character’s point of view--even the dog’s. The STRAC-BOM boys, Avery, and the hilarious group of elderly women keep the comedy going, while El Barquero fueled the serious side as he deals with drug cartels and the border patrol. It’s the perfect mixture of dark drama and unpredictable comedy.
About the Author
Stephen Randel, CFA, was born in Houston, Texas. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University. Steve now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and their two rescue dogs.
For more information, visit his website.