Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"Imperial Valley"

Johnny Shaw was born and raised on the Calexico/Mexicali border, the setting for his award-winning Jimmy Veeder Fiasco series, which includes the novels Dove Season and Plaster City. He is also the author of the Anthony Award–winning adventure novel Big Maria and the urban-crime novel Floodgate.

Shaw applied the Page 69 Test to the latest Jimmy Veeder Fiasco, Imperial Valley, and reported the following:
While this page mostly exists to do some table-setting for the scenes to come, it does introduce one element of Imperial Valley that is slightly different than the two previous books in the series.

Jimmy Veeder and Bobby Maves, the protagonists of my series of fiascoes, are the source of a slew of bad ideas. With good intentions but dubious solutions, they throw themselves at a problem with more passion than brains, often making things worse. Which has meant that their better halves, Angie and Griselda respectively, have always been too smart to participate. Important characters, but sensible ones as well.

In Imperial Valley, they don’t have a choice anymore, allowing Angie and Griselda to participate fully in the fiasco, showing that they have just as little common sense as Jimmy and Bobby, but easily as much grit and tenacity. From the threat of Mexican cartels deep in Sinaloa to kidnappers back at home in the California desert, they are fully tested when family is at stake.
The Numbnut Twins agreed to stop tailing us within the city of Mazatlán. It might have been in Sinaloa, but Mazatlán was one of the safest cities in Mexico. Old people retired there. However, they insisted on joining us on the trip to Coatepec. In their mind, the country was where bad shit could go down, and they wanted to be there if it did. Who knew what kind of nonsense went on out in the rural Sierra Madre?

I figured no harm having an extra couple people. Whether Mexico or the US, small towns held their own secrets. And their own screwy form of danger. Cue the banjo music.

“I don't like you, but we can't let nothing happen to you,” Luis said. “If Tomás Morales wasn't our boss, I'd mess up your buddy for that bottle shit.”

Bobby laughed. “Why is it guys that think they're tough always start sentences with ‘I'd fight you, but...'?”

“When this is over, homes,” Luis said, “and your women aren't around to protect you, we'll go.”

“That's going to be fun,” Bobby said.

Angie looked at Griselda. “Men are fucking morons.”

“Stupid fucking morons,” Griselda said.

Excerpted from Imperial Valley: A Jimmy Veeder Fiasco by Johnny Shaw with permission of the publisher, Thomas & Mercer. Copyright 2017 © Johnny Shaw. All rights reserved.
Visit Johnny Shaw's website.

The Page 69 Test: Plaster City.

--Marshal Zeringue