Monday, January 17, 2011

Into a Mexican Heart of Darkness

In 1910, a father and the son he abandoned as a child are thrown together against the backdrop of the coming Mexican Revolution. The father, a criminal assassin named Redbone, has hijacked a truckload of munitions that he intends to sell into the coming maelstrom. But before he can do so, Redbone is captured by the U.S. Bureau of Investigation, which would later become the F.B.I. The Bureau offers Redbone immunity for his crimes if he will help expose the criminals for whom the munitions are destined.

Having little choice in the matter, Redbone takes the deal and is placed under the direction of Bureau agent John Lourdes, whom Redbone fails to recognize as his son. Lourdes is seething with resentment against the injustices done to him and his mother by Redbone, but agrees to sublimate his personal concerns for the good of the mission.

Lourdes conceals his identity from Redbone, refusing even to acknowledge the relationship. Together, they descend into the murky, violent world of pre-Revolutionary Mexico, where it's impossible to tell the good guys from the bad, and where Lourdes soon discovers that, in fact, there may not be any good guys at all. Among the competing interests are the executives and employees of American oil companies who are determined to exploit the oil wealth of Mexico and who want a pliable Mexican government to serve their needs. They hope that the United States government will intervene in the crisis in support of their interests.

This is something beyond the road trip from hell--more like the road trip into hell. Redbone and Lourdes, both tough, smart men, must not only negotiate their way through a snake's nest of thugs and the brutal desert environment, but also through their own complex and tortured relationship. This is an absolutely compelling book--thought-provoking, beautifully written and achingly sad. Boston Teran has conceived and executed a brilliant piece of work that no reader will soon forget.

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