Do They Know I’m Running?
Ballantine, Mar 2 2010, $15.00
During one of those INS sweeps in the Oakland port area, Faustino is picked up as an illegal alien. The Feds deport him back to El Salvadore leaving behind in their usual family values way his dependents to include his wife Lucha, his criminal son Pablo (AKA Happy) and his orphaned nephews eighteen year old Roque and disturbed war veteran Godo.
Using his contacts Happy works a deal with human smugglers to bring his father home to California. However, to pay the exorbitant price, he works another deal with the FBI. He sends Roque to El Salvadore to escort his Da back to the family; but the gang involved demand he also escort teenage Lupe to a Mexican drug lord and a Palestinian allegedly seeking political asylum as arranged by Happy to further muck up the trek from Central American to the States. Roque knows whenever dealing with Happy one learns the rest of the story trying to survive.
This is a strong thriller that tells the other side of the illegal immigrant story from that of a family mostly through Roque who struggles to keep alive his charges as they trek through a violent Central America and Mexico on the mule trail. The story line is action-packed but character driven as the hero finds himself caught in several nasty scenarios in which he must constantly choose between love (for Lupe and for his family) and survival as bartering humans is a way of life on this wagon trail.