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El Camino del Rio: A Mystery (Signed First Edition)

Jim Sanderson

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ISBN 10: 0826319904 / ISBN 13: 9780826319906
Published by University of New Mexico Press, 1998
New Condition: New Hardcover
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About this Item

University of New Mexico Press, 1998. First edition. First printing. Hardbound. SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page. New in dust jacket. A tight unread copy. 0.0. Bookseller Inventory # 1420

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Bibliographic Details

Title: El Camino del Rio: A Mystery (Signed First ...

Publisher: University of New Mexico Press

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition....

About this title


Presidio, Texas is hard country and hardship duty for U.S. Border Patrol officer Dolph Martinez. When circling buzzards lead him to a corpse in Red Wing boots with a .22 bullet hole in an expensive haircut, Dolph realizes this is no ordinary norteño trying to cross the deserted border from Mexico. Is the dead man connected to Sister Quinn's efforts to help Central American political refugees find sanctuary? Is Sister Quinn, a nun who practices curanderismo, mixed up in a smuggling operation? On the border--El Camino del Rio--men and women on both sides of the river and both sides of the law think they know each other's business, but nothing is what it seems. And it is Dolph's job and his destiny to unravel the mystery. This gritty, atmospheric story, the first novel to win the Frank Waters Southwest Writing Contest, has the harsh power and heat of the Texas desert.

"A richly imagined and terrifically realized novel. Complex and humane, always surprising, it rings as true as the winter light across the southern desert."--James Crumley

"Mr. Sanderson is especially good at contrasting the clarity and austere natural beauty of the Chihuahuan desert with the murky, Orson Welles aura that envelops human society there."--Tom Pilkington, Dallas Morning News

"[A] lean and lyrical first novel."--Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book

"Makes the gritty, thankless landscape of the border come alive, from the relentless heat to the failed hopes."--Paul Skenazy, Washington Post Book World


Frank Waters was one of the best writers ever to catch the complex essence of the American Southwest. His books--The Man Who Killed the Deer, People of the Valley, The Woman at Otowi Crossing--are still widely read, and the University of New Mexico sponsors an annual writing contest in his name. Jim Sanderson, who teaches English at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, won the 1997 Waters Award for this tough, compassionate first novel about a U.S. Border Patrol agent named Dolph Martinez. A compact man with a Mexican father and an American mother, Martinez struggles daily with the conflicting instincts of himself and his two countries.

El Camino Del Rio is based in the depressing Texas backwater town of Presidio. Living in a seedy, failed resort hotel, Martinez keeps his ambition and intelligence in check and patrols the country around El Camino del Rio--Highway 170, which runs close to the Rio Grande. Near the body of a murdered drug runner, Martinez finds a small vial of blue liquid, the same magic charm pressed into his own hand by a feisty nun named Sister Quinn when he was badly wounded four years before. Sister Quinn seems to be involved with smuggling illegal aliens, especially political ones, into the U.S., but Martinez has never been able to catch her. Now she also appears to be part of a scheme by the Mexican government to capture a renegade named Vincent Fuentes. Also caught up in the action is a tall, striking blonde woman with an equally mysterious agenda, and a gallery of rogues from both sides of the border. Frank Waters would have approved of Sanderson's ability to capture the atmosphere while sustaining a strong narrative. --Dick Adler

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