Once again, Gifford (Baby Cat-Face, 1995, etc.) depicts protagonists trying to make a brighter life for themselves while betraying lovers and staying one step ahead of homicidal maniacs. When former motorcycle mechanic DelRay Mudo joins up with Ava Varazo, a beautiful but dangerous prostitute, she convinces him to ""do something meaningful with his life."" In this case, something meaningful involves stealing half a million dollars from Indio Desacato, owner of a thriving bordello in the Texas border town of Sinaloa. Standing in their way is Indio's 380-pound bodyguard, Thankful Priest, a former football player who once gouged out his own eyeball while high on various narcotics. What Ava really wants is to return to her Mexican home of La Villania (""the despicable act"") and fund a peasant's revolution, a plan that doesn't necessarily include DelRay. After the showdown at Indio's, the narrative switches to Leander Rhodes, an ex-Marine, and his young wife, Cobra Box, who travel to La Villania to join the revolution. Also in the mix are a white supremacist, a boarding school-educated Italian hooker and a cross-dressing 14-year-old piano player. Like Sailor and Lula of Gifford's previous novels (including Wild at Heart), Delray and Ava can't avoid the violence that surrounds them (nor do they always want to), but, in Gifford's hands, their troubles are elevated to a gritty, visceral poetry of the marginalized. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1998 Release date: 05/01/1998 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.