cover image The Devil Takes You Home: A Barrio Noir

The Devil Takes You Home: A Barrio Noir

Gabino Iglesias. Mulholland, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-42691-6

After Mario, the narrator of this bewitching paranormal thriller from Iglesias (Coyote Songs), racks up huge debts to pay for his four-year-old daughter’s leukemia treatments, he becomes a hit man for Brian, his meth-addicted friend in Austin, Tex. Mario agrees to help Brian rob a Mexican cartel, a job that will yield them $200,000 each. The pair rendezvous with Juanca, who takes them to Mexico through a secret tunnel after a horrifying pit stop for a gruesomely obtained safety talisman. The stakes rise as supernatural beings threaten Mario and shake his confidence. Meanwhile, Juanca convinces Mario that Brian means to kill him for his share. Bizarre happenings increase as the two men prepare for a showdown with members of the cartel. Iglesias effectively portrays Mario’s fragile mental state and builds a subtle but complex mythology out of chilling details. Readers should be prepared for some intense violence, as well as passages of untranslated Spanish (“Melisa y yo morimos en vida, and that’s the worst kind of death”). Fans of creepy but emotionally deep action novels will be satisfied. Agent: Melissa Danaczko, Stuart Krichevsky Literary. (Aug.)