Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Vendetta of Felipe Espinosa - Adam James Jones

My review of The Vendetta of Felipe Espinosa first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am posting it here today with their permission.

First line: "An excerpt from the autobiography of Tom Tobin: 'Even as an old man now, far removed from the turmoil in the East and blissfully occupied with the operation of my ranch, I think of things like the depravities committed by Espinosa and I worry it is impossible to trust any man entirely.'"

Felipe Espinosa’s youth is filled with struggle, loss and rejection. However, it is a brutal attack on his wife, Secundina, and their son that is Espinosa’s breaking point. Finding them both dead, he strikes out with Secundina’s brother Vivian to exact his revenge on a world that’s left him with nothing. Throughout 1863, Felipe and Vivian leave a gruesome trail of death. They murder more than 30 settlers in the Western territories, eluding law enforcement, the military and town posses.

Adam James Jones points out in the Notes and Acknowledgments following his debut novel that “the life of Felipe Espinosa has gone largely unrecorded and overshadowed by history.” The 1860s was a decade of great unrest in the United States, and record keeping was sparse; what did exist has not endured. Despite this lack of first-hand material, Jones creates a vivid depiction of the American Southwest and a persuasive narrative of one of the country’s first serial killers.

Fact and fiction blur seamlessly together. The authenticity of this epic historical novel is due in large part to Jones’ meticulous care with the colliding cultures--American, Mexican and Native American—his obvious respect for his setting—its beauty, fierceness and mysticism—and his perspective. The Vendetta of Felipe Espinosa offers up a fully realized character just as capable of passion, devotion and fear as he is callousness, hatred and violence, making a simple black and white judgment virtually impossible.

This beautifully rendered macabre romance will appeal to fans of history, westerns and crime alike.

The Vendetta of Felipe Espinosa is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9781432829919) from Five Star.


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