It Came From Del Rio – Stephen Graham Jones | Book Review
A very unique novel by local Colorado author Stephen Graham Jones, It Came From Del Rio is a postmortem account of what the main character, Dodd Raines, intends to be his last job. A criminal forced to flee to Mexico with his daughter after a failed bank heist, he now earns his living transporting contraband across the border. When he gets a call and discovers his employers know too much about his daughter, he plans to finish this one last job.
Divided into two parts, the novel is narrated by both Dodd himself and his daughter Laurie. Jones is very careful in how much he reveals and when he does. It sets the reader on equal footing with the narrator, giving them an odd sense that they are sharing something together. This is where the strength lies in this book, not in the actions and events of this already doomed smuggling job, but in the substance of the characters themselves and the setting of the story. For me, that’s where the book comes alive.
In turn the most brilliant move the author made occurs just two pages in, when the narrator informs the reader that he will die before the end of the novel. It removes the possibility for some cliché moral or lesson. No room for Dodd to struggle against the odds, defeat the bad guys and turn a new leaf on his life. What this novel has to offer is blood and sweat and sand in your teeth. Maybe it’s just my love for a good horror tale, but there is something unique at work when a book can keep it’s audience captivated while the main character is trudging through the desert, struggling to bring himself to what the reader knows is a grim fate.
Stars 4/5 | 9/10
Get in on the conversation! (comment your answers - some ideas below)
- Read any good horror stories lately?
- What made you enjoy them?
- Do you enjoy stories that reveal the ending at the beginning and work backwards?
- Why or why not?
Beyond the Review:
- Stephen Graham Jones is pretty active on twitter, so you could follow him there
- The cover art for the book was done by a 24-year-old artist named Ry-Spirit from deviant art.
- Stephen Graham Jones to Publish Two Novels with Dzanc Books (emergingwriters.typepad.com)