Monday, June 22, 2020

Missing by Sam Hawken


Gonzalo took a few desultory bites and then put his fork down. ‘I never saw this as a game, Jack. I did what I had to do because that is the way things are supposed to be carried out. We don’t live in the Wild West. Mexico has laws. Maybe they aren’t well enforced, but we have to at least try, otherwise there would be anarchy.’

Sam Hawken delivers a neo-noir south of the Border contemporary Western that is a riff on Alan LeMay’s The Searchers.

Here, we have an everyman type, a building contractor widower in Laredo, Texas who is attempting to do right by his job and in the raising of his two stepdaughters.

When one goes missing in a brief visit to Mexican relatives, our protagonist seeks every legal and just method to find the girl. We feel his heartache, his anguish, his sense of duty to both the girl and the promise he made to his late wife.

When these methods fail, we proceed to the final section of the book subtitled “Off the Chain” and that descriptor does little justice to what is done.

This is a well-done neo-Western that reminds one of Don Winslow but writ small. That smallness is not an indication of effect, simply that our attention is laser focused on one man and his burden of duty.

Exceptionally well done.

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