Monday, August 20, 2018

Ragtag Reviews - ZERO SAINTS by Gabino Iglesias

I’m gonna do it!

Randomly make my way through this leaning tower of TBR. Of course, my pile is in no order, therefore some of these titles may be quite old. You can’t read words off a page. That’s what my Dad always says. Age doesn’t matter. Just start reading. And review. Read and review.

Gabino Iglesias

Synopsis: Meet Fernando. Running from Cartel killers, Fernando flees to America from Mexico City. Finding work as an enforcer and drug-dealer he settles into a low-life groove. However, things are never that easy for Fernando. Soon he is caught in the cross hairs of a brutal drug lord, serious about staking his claim, a point made clear by the torture and murder of one of Fernando’s associates.

Be warned, Fernando is made of more than anyone can imagine and he will call on every corner of strength and force to survive.

Review: ZERO SAINTS is completely original. Equal parts noir and horror, Gabino melds his beautiful anger and artistic prose with ease and absolute sincerity. He slices his characters wide open, figuratively and literally, showing their fine and fragile inner-workings. These characters are real and vivid. As you read you can almost sense their presence behind you, an unsettling side-effect.

Our main man Fernando is a hard fellow to appreciate. His chaotic journey begins when he watches his friend tortured and beheaded, a scene described in horrific and visceral detail. From this point on we follow as Fernando dances between worlds to stay alive. This difficult duality is clarified by Gabino’s generous sprinkling Fernando’s native Spanish throughout the manuscript. Gabino reminds us our character is a fish out of water. Living in a land that is not his home. He is lonely, afraid, and capable of horrible acts.

Adding to the nerves and shivers is the otherworldly atmosphere that hangs over the tale. An ex-rapper with a killer eagle. A dog more human than canine. Santa Muerte. Voodoo. Tarot. Fernando’s almost manic habit of prayer. These shadowy details heighten the sense of dread and uncertainty.

ZERO SAINTS grabbed me from the very beginning. By taking a crime/noir framework and filling it with occult and horror aspects Gabino has added to the genre. No small feat and not often accomplished. Though I’ve written mainly noir, I am a horror gal in my heart, and this book captured and thrilled me. I loved it and highly recommend. Gabino is a wonder. Oh, I want a print of that cover. Spectacular.

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