Sunday, July 20, 2014
Rough Justice / Tender Mercies, by Leonhard August
This story has an interesting structure. The real action takes place on one day, and ends with an act of violence, but the narrative begins after that is over. Then it runs back to tell us the background of the narrator and his friend Earl. The story is a quarter over before the action begins. And after we reach the climax it goes on for almost another quarter, ending up where it started.
Sounds complicated, but I don't think you could have made this story work any other way.
The main characters are Shadow Wolves, members of the Tohono O'odham tribe working as border agents for Homeland Security. The main action concerns the discovery that one of their confidential informers, a woman working with a very dangerous group of Mexican smugglers, has been found dead.
But don't assume you know where the plot is going. The actual direction is hidden in the background August has so carefully laid out for you.