When Colorado rancher Atticus hears that his wayward son Cody has been found dead in Mexico, an apparent suicide, he travels to the scene to do his own investigations. What he finds makes him suspect that Cody was murdered.
The group verdict:
Most of the group wasn't that impressed with this one. The main criticism was the abrupt change in tone that occurs midway through the book. I personally thought the narrative was solid if a tad unexciting up to the big reveal that changes everything. And then it did get pretty strange!
A few in the group really liked the parallels with the bibical story of The Prodigal Son and everyone seemed to respect Atticus as a character. He's the reserved cowboy type, but his actions belie a deep love for his son.
The supporting characters felt very sketchy, and nobody could really figure out Cody's girlfriend Renata's motivations. We had a long discussion about why people leave their native countries and came up with four main reasons: a job, love, to find themselves or to escape from something. Renata didn't seem to fit in any of these categories.
It wasn't the most exciting book to read and not everyone finished, but it did lead to a fun discussion, so I would deem it a moderate success.
The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos. It is billed as a haunting story of three cops - one good, one bad, one broken - and the murder that reunites them in a showdown decades in the making.