Monday, November 3, 2014

Catching up on crime: EL GAVILAN by Craig McDonald

El GavilanFrom the back of the book:
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 and 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.

My Review:
As New Austin, Ohio struggles to police the ever growing numbers of illegal Mexican immigrants, three police chiefs from three distinctly different backgrounds meet to counteract the problem. What Tel (formerly from Border Patrol and new chief), Hawk (old school cop with good intentions), and Pierce (shady cop with a string of questionable deaths of those in his custody) didn't envision, was the impact a rape/murder of a local Mexican resident would have on their respective counties and the bloodshed that would ultimately claim their respective postings.   

EL GAVILAN is one of those rare novels that blends plot with the natural progression of character development without sacrificing key elements to either. Tel, Hawk and co are well rounded and believable. I couldn't help but back Tel’s every move while sympathised with some of the difficult predicaments Hawk found himself in.

As far as the multiple plot devises and threads go, I thought author Craig McDonald did a great job by concluding it all in once nice bundle of violence at the completion of the book.

Backstabbing, wrong doing, murder, good intentions, misguided justice and vengeance are all prevalent throughout proceedings ensuring there is never a dull moment or skerrick of filling – just straight-up cop noir.  

This was my first read of a Craig McDonald and it sure wont be the last. 

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