The Jaguar's Children

The Jaguar's Children

by John Vaillant
Mystery
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover, 288 pages
$26.00

Two of our recent non-fiction favorites are John’s Vaillant’s The Golden Spruce (2006) and The Tiger (2010). This is his first novel. There is a tanker truck heading north across the desert toward the US border from Mexico. Sealed inside are fifteen would-be immigrants seeking freedom and prosperity – or at least a living – in El Norte. The truck breaks down and is abandoned by its coyote drivers. The suffocating wait begins. Hector, our protagonist, has a cell phone, but no service. He maintains a running diary via text messages and sound files chronicling the history and now dire straits of himself and his compatriots. The writing is crisp and compelling and has just the right sprinkling of Spanish vernacular to draw the reader in to the scene. A harrowing read!