The Vagabond Virgins
Poisoned Pen Press, Feb 2008
Lupe Garcia travels to rural areas claiming to be a virgin angel in 1979 Baja Mexico. She quotes scripture and pleads with children to tell their parents to vote against the corrupt tyrannical Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) in the upcoming election.
Lupe’s younger sister Lourdes fears that the PCI will kill her sibling, whom she has not seen since their father threw Lupe out of their home years ago. She needs to warn Lupe that the PRI is seeking Lupe to prevent her from causing them problems. To find her sister she hires law student and private investigator Alvaro Hickey because she heard he is not afraid to break the rules. He thinks his client is the VAGABOND VIRGIN angel and she has no sibling; he also wonders if she killed her father as the PRI suspect as she took gold bricks worth a fortune. Now the PRI, her brother and much of Mexico search for the sleuth and the younger sister while the duo searches for the older female sibling, who has been captured by the PRI.
The latest Hickey Family thriller (see The Angel Gang for one of dad’s tales and The Do-Re-Mi for the son’s first solo) is a superb look at the immigration issue circa 1979 (pre Reagan “amnesty” and no nebulous link to 9/11 to obfuscate the issue). Violence and corruption at the California-Mexico border makes for a dangerous MZ yet that stays in the background as the fast-paced story line contains deep characterizations, a trademark of Ken Kuhlken’s Hickey historicals. This powerful exciting drama will leave the audience thinking beyond the inane sound bite solutions of politicians and extremists to ponder how to realistically deal with a complex issue with ramifications hitting all aspects of society.