La Frontera, by Sam HawkenPart of new publisher Betimes Books’ first wave of titles, La Frontera represents Sam Hawken’s first foray into contemporary dramatic fiction. Illegal immigration into the United States and the human cost of the border war come into sharp focus in this new, hard-hitting novel.

Some praise:

“This novel is exceptional. Truly engaging. Truly touching. Hard to put down, with striking images of the terror people go through on the Mexican-American border, this book opened my eyes and entertained.” — Laurence O’Bryan

“Hawken’s words will keep you hooked until the very last sentence.” — New York Journal of Books

The story:

There are over 11 million illegal immigrants living and working in the United States. Most cross the border with Mexico. Along that strip of land there are two sides: those who fight to stem the tide and those who work to subvert the system, with the immigrants caught in the middle.

Ana Torres is a Texas Ranger assigned to a dusty outpost to protect that border. When she discovers the body of a dead crosser, the stage is set for an investigation and a confrontation in the nighttime desert. Luis González lives on the Mexican side, helping those who seek a better life in the north while looking for peace in his own way.

And then there is Marisol Herrera, a border crosser braving hardship and dangers on her journey from the high mountains of El Salvador to the sun-blasted flats of the Texas/Mexico border. She is alone, chasing a dream, but threatened by the realities of la frontera.

The stories of these three will intersect in the badlands of Texas. There will be death and pain and prices paid along the banks of the Rio Grande.

An excerpt:

Ana Torres could not be sure of the time, though it had to be close to noon. The sun was an unblinking white disk overhead, blanching rocks and dirt alike and cutting through her clothing like a heated blade. She was glad she was not on foot, though the sorrel gelding she rode had to be suffering, too. Soon they would stop and would share water, though they would not have the luxury of shade.

This was ranch land, but of the poorest quality. There were grasses cattle could eat, but mostly there was cactus and yucca and the occasional cluster of mesquite trees. Ana saw one of these trees off to the southwest, standing sentinel on a finger of exposed white rock that could have been the bone of a giant. She clicked her tongue and urged Rico toward it.

She wore a Stetson and wraparound sunglasses, but the glare was still intense. There was something about that black, twisted mesquite and it was a few more yards before she realized what it was: a pink cloth caught in the branches.

“Come on, lazy,” Ana said to Rico. The animal picked a careful path among loose stones and patches of dirt. A person could easily twist an ankle on the uneven ground and Rico was not a foolish animal.

AVAILABLE NOW in print and ebook.

For more on La Frontera, see the blog.