The Sinners of San Ramon

William Montalbano, Author Pocket Books $3.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-671-66411-4
A foreign correspondent in Central America whose solo fictional debut is this taut political thriller, Montalbano dramatizes the fate of innocent people caught up in El Salvador's savage internecine conflict by devising an orphanage, San Ramon, whose existence is threatened equally by the unscrupulous Salvadoran army, embittered revolutionaries and the reactionary Salvadoran Catholic Church hierarchy. Championing the cause of San Ramon's boys are an American priest; his brother, a judge, who makes an annual visit to coach the orphanage's baseball team, the Sinners of San Ramon; a politically naive American doctor on the run from her personal life; and a freelance spy disguised as a circus owner. The story briskly exposes the greed, blood lust and pettiness motivating the combatants and gives the orphans and their advocates plenty of opportunities for old-fashioned, stand-up-and-cheer heroics. The book's forbidding picture of El Salvador is effectively balanced by its hopeful conclusion that the individual can make a difference even in the most desperate circumstances. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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