Thursday, December 22, 2011

EL GAVILAN - Craig McDonald

My review of EL GAVILAN is appearing here with permission from Shelf Awareness. This review appeared in Tuesday's Readers' edition. If you are not already subscribed to Shelf Awareness, you can do so here for free and have the twice-weekly newsletter delivered to your email.

First line: "Her grandmother was the first to die of thirst crossing the Sonoran Desert."

Craig McDonald veers from his Hector Lassiter series to tackle the timely issue of illegal immigration in the United States. Taking neither a pro nor con stance, McDonald probes the gray areas while illustrating the volatile effects of the rape-murder of a Mexican-American mother in small town Ohio.

El Gavilan follows three law men: Sheriff Able Hawk, Police Chief Tell Lyon and Sheriff Walt Pierce as they battle each other for the territorial rights in the rape-murder investigation. Each law enforcement officer has his own agenda and none wears an unsullied white hat. Through their actions, McDonald smudges the lines between right and wrong – is it really wrong if it’s done for the right reasons - leaving his readers with conflicting feelings about the characters. It’s this conflict that makes El Gavilan so irresistible. As Hawk, Lyon and Pierce delve into the investigation, the reader delves into his/her feelings for the characters. Love or hate them, you can’t help but invest in them.

In his previous novels, McDonald brought the past to life for readers. In El Gavilan, he crafts a fictitious small town as real as any on an Ohio map. The sights, sounds and even the smells reach from the pages to pull the reader into this world.

El Gavilan proves that Craig McDonald’s talents aren’t limited to the historical thriller novel, and we can only hope that he has many more opportunities to bring his stories to print.

El Gavilan is available in both trade paper (ISBN: 978-1-4405-3191-0) and in hardcover (ISBN: 978-1-4405-3194-1) from Tyrus Books.


Susan Bennett December 27, 2011 at 12:29 AM  

This sounds like an interesting read and a very topical subject, although I have to confess I'm pretty over the old law enforcement agencies fighting for jurisdiction - it's a well-worn device.

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