Review: “The Rules of Wolfe” by James Carlos Blake

Ambitious Edward leaves the family gun-running business for what he thinks are the greener pastures of the cross-border drug trade. Youthful hormones and boredom land him in great trouble.

This novel is hard to place in a genre — the cover pretty accurately calls it “Border Noir” — but it’s plotted like a Western with thriller-like action and characters more original than you usually find in either. This is my first book by the author, James Carlos Baker, and I was pretty excited to see that he has written 11. I’ll be trying out the others soon.

There is a bunch of characters but they’re deftly and efficiently drawn and their relationships attended too so that the reader doesn’t get lost. Few of us have much familiarity with the setting ( the U.S./Mexico border) but via the news and Cormac McCarthy we all have enough familiarity with what goes on there to get a good sense of where things take place — we know it’s hot, dry, and dangerous and that might be all the informaiton needed — and probably most readers don’t know any smugglers, but all of us know people like these characters so it takes no effort to enter the story.

The Rules of Wolfe by
Mysterious Press
June 2013
240 pages
(5 / 5 stars)
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