Saturday, July 5, 2014

Roadkill Review: Federales by Christopher Irvin

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In a country where corruption is a way of life and drug cartels own the police, Federal Agents like Marcos Camarena are the exceptions, not the rule. Marcos had devoted himself to his job and worked hard to bring the men who are murdering his country to justice, but even good men have their limits. His wife has already left him and now with his life under threat Marcos leaves too. He quits law enforcement and moves from Mexico City to a small coastal town.

Marcos is done fighting the good fight. He has lost his crusade against the cartels. But when an old friend asks him to help the outspoken female politician, Eva Santos with hers, Marcos knows he can’t turn away.

Christopher Irvin shows us the real Mexico, the one that exists away from the Spring Breakers and the tourist beaches of Cancun. He does this by skillfully wrapping his fiction around the real life courage of an incredibly brave and determined woman, Maria Santos Gorrostieta (Google her, I’ll wait). This alone makes FEDERALES worthy of your time. However there is more than just political commentary here; there is also a damn good story. The easy paced narrative allows Irvin to give his characters real depth and I soon found myself deep in their world of paranoia, doubt and danger. Add to that a strong plot with a seriously good left turn and you know you’re on to a winner.
If I have one gripe, it’s that FEDERALES is just too short. I was hooked. I wanted to spend longer in the company of Marcos and Eva. There is bags of potential here, more than enough for a full-blown novel and I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed that it was all over so quickly. As it stands FEDERALES is a seriously good novella, with Chris Irvin at the wheel it could have been a great novel too.  

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