Coming Soon: El Gavilan by Craig McDonald
Best known for the Hector Lassiter series which I haven’t managed to sample yet despite my best intentions but I’m looking forward to this standalone novel.
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 exerting 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. Police Chief Tell Lyon is a hurting man, a former California Border Patrol commander whose family was brutally murdered by a vengeful gang of smugglers. Tell has fled the desert and returned to the heartland to be New Austin’s chief of police. He’s come expecting a Mayberry-like experience, but soon learns “the border is now everywhere.”
Conservative hard-liner Sheriff Able Hawk takes a direct approach. Hawk stages mass arrests, posts inflammatory blog entries and bills back the Federal government his costs for jailing illegal immigrants who have nicknamed him El Gavilan. Walt Pierce is sheriff of neighboring Vale County. Walt has a storied history and long rivalry with Able Hawk. Pierce, a vindictive, closed-minded man and a dangerous enemy, takes an immediate dislike to Tell Lyon.
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.