G156 E-Reading Book Review of #2 Trail of the Chupacabra by Stephen Randel
Author: Stephen Randel
Publisher: Knuckleball Press
Part of a Series: Chupacabra Series
Type of book: Mexico, humor, suspense, betrayal, gangs, Chupacabra, mystery, voodoo, Texas, Austin, global theories
Year it was published: 2013
Avery Bartholomew Pendleton is back, and he’s just as crazy as ever. Avery is a paranoid loner obsessed with global conspiracy theories who spends most of his time crafting absurd and threatening letters to anyone who offends him. That means pretty much everyone.
Still convinced of the existence of the mythical Mexican chupacabra*, Avery enlists the assistance of the Southwest Texas Revolutionary Armed Confederate Border Operations Militia (STRAC-BOM) and their manic leader, General X-Ray, to help him invade Mexico. Accompanied by Ziggy, a burned-out hippy, and an uncommonly large iguana named Nancy, the group follows the advice of a New Orleans voodoo priestess and heads straight into the Mexican desert.
Unfortunately for the motley gang of explorers, Mexico can be a dangerous place if you cross the wrong people -- specifically, the Padre, a vicious drug cartel boss, and El Barquero, a murderous gunrunner who has crossed Avery’s path before.
What unfolds is a laugh-out-loud dark comedy of insane humor, unforgettable characters, and chilling thrills.
*No chupacabras were injured in the writing of this book.
There are actually a lot of characters which might detract from the story because one has to know which characters are which. The characters are well rounded and unique however, each with their own quirks and wishes. I wish Miss Pearl was back in the book, but its okay. In addition to characters from the prequel, some new characters are introduced such as El Carnicerio, the Voodoo Queen, and the lawyer that takes care of Avery's lawsuits. I enjoyed reading and getting to know the unique characters, as well as learning some interesting backgrounds of certain personages and their motives.
Sometimes the most impossible can be possible
This is written in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view, or at least almost everyone's point of view. Avery speaks his mind, as well as STRAC-BOM members, Ziggy, the Voodoo Queen, El Barquero, El Padre and El Carnicerio. I have read this book first instead of the prequel, thus I was confused about some parts, especially when one of the members have worked previously with Avery, although that was resolved after reading the prequel. The author chooses the right characters to narrate the story, and the strengths of these characters are much enhanced in this book. What might have helped is sort of a layout or character sheet for the STRAC-BOM because I was confused about who was operating under whom and it would have helped me out greatly. The book does tackle serious issues in Mexico such as corruption, mafia, violence and so forth, but there is a lot of humor there to offset the impossible issues. The author also presents hope as well.
Stephen Randel, CFA, was born in Houston, Texas. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University. Steve now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and their two rescue dogs.
What happens when you mix a chupacabra, a burn out hippy, a man who sees conspiracies everywhere, a crew of soldiers who believe they're defending Texas from Mexicans, cartels, Mexican gang, a male lizard named Nancy and even a voodoo queen to boot all in one book? Well you get a delightful read and this book. For those who have read the prequel titled The Chupacabra, you have already met Avery Bartholomew Pendleton who seems to suffer from a sort of mental disorder and writes hate letters in his spare time as well as going through numerous lawsuits from what seems to be everyone, including his own lawyer even! You have also met STRAC-BOM led by General X-Ray who seems to suffer from the similar disorder that Avery has. You have also met El Padre, the Mexican version of Godfather as well as El Barquero and Ziggy the burnout hippy. The book is written a whole lot better than the prequel in my opinion; there are madcap adventures such as stealing a school-bus, the mysterious link between chupacabra and the Yankees, more about El Barquero and more about El Padre as well as The Butcher (El Carnicerio?) if I'm not mistaken. The author has done a good job into writing a plausible story made out of implausible events. There is a lot of humor in the story, my favorite part being the stolen school bus and seeing Avery come up with interesting ideas, such as Mountain-Dew pork rinds.
I would like to thank Sage's Blog Tours for the opportunity in reading the book.
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4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)