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by T.E. Wilson
Boularderie Island Press, January 2018
395 pages
$19.95 CAD
ISBN: 1926448286

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Who would have thought that a tiny press in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada would be publishing a very intriguing detective series featuring a Mexican immigrant to Canada who becomes a Canadian cop, but at the age of thirty-nine returns to Mexico City to become a private investigator?

That is exactly what Boularderie Island Press is doing with T. E. Wilson's Detective Sanchez series. The first in the series, MESCALERO introduced us to Sanchez, Ernesto by name, although he was Cristina in his youth. Ernesto is as hard bitten as they come, although he has a secret that could destroy him in the dark underworld of Mexico.

In MESCALERO, Sanchez managed to solve several crimes, helped along by a visit to a Mescalero in the mountains of the state of Oaxaca, an ancient man who makes mescal, out of Maguey Cactus, a sort of hallucinogenic alcoholic beverage that either straightens you out or finishes you off. Sanchez has issues with alcohol, whether it be Tequila, Scotch or one of the many homemade Mexican drinks found in the boonies.

WILD DOGS OF MEXICO is the second in the Sanchez series. Bill Clinton, Sanchez' female German Shepherd runt has been stolen, and it appears that the only way he will get her back in one piece is by solving the murders of two gay men. Being Mexico, this case drives Sanchez into the terrifying world of the drug cartels that at this sad time, seem to run the country.

While many of the drug lords are in prison, they seem to be able to continue their dealings, as we find out on a visit to the worst prison in the Mexico City region. Sanchez' visit to this prison is one of the most eye-opening pictures of a totally corrupt and dangerous underworld I have encountered.

And then Sanchez finds himself at a dog farm run by a homophobic priest where the animals are taught to be man-killers. Sanchez nearly loses his life but manages to live on so he can appear in the third of the Sanchez series, coming soon.

Wilson spends part of his year in Mexico and has worked as a journalist there. He knows the country very well but, of course, since he is Canadian himself, he can speak to an English-speaking audience, with its cultural context, while at the same time providing rich Mexican colour. These novels will appeal especially to those who have gone beyond a casual visit or two to the Mayan Riviera, Puerto Vallarta or Mexico City. If you have penetrated beyond the tourist scene and discovered the rich and ancient culture of Mexico, and heard tell of the terrible drug cartel scene embedded there, you will delight in T. E. Wilson's Sanchez series. I absolutely loved the first two and eagerly await number three.

Susan Hoover is a playwright, independent producer and retired college English teacher. She lives in Nova Scotia.

Reviewed by Susan Hoover, December 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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