The Rules of Wolfeby James Carlos Blake
“Nobody writes about blood and guts better than James Carlos Blake. He knows in his bones that violence is at the heart of our American history.” —The Washington Post
From Los Angeles Times Book Prize–winner James Carlos Blake comes a relentless thriller about a young man who falls for the wrong woman, with life-threatening consequences. Eddie Wolfe is a young, impetuous member of the Wolfe clan, a family of Texas outlaws. Eager to strike out on his own, he disregards the family requirement of going to college and instead crosses the border to work security for a Mexican drug cartel run by the ruthless La Navaja.
At a party Eddie falls for Miranda, who he learns too late is the girlfriend of El Segundo, La Navaja’s brother. When El Segundo finds the two of them together, Eddie kills him, forcing the lovers to flee the cartel. But La Navaja’s reach is far and his lust for revenge insatiable. Fighting their way across the brutal Mexican desert, Eddie and Miranda’s only hope may be the very Wolfe family Eddie abandoned.
“[H]arrowing and suspenseful . . . . Blake’s portrayal of the dangers of the immigrants’ crossing is better than any journalistic account I’ve seen. . . . Readers who enjoy action, adventure and lethal weaponry will relish every moment.” —Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
“[Blake] writes of grisly death and violence like a singing Gaelic bard… The Rules of Wolfe could have been ripped from today’s headlines…. [A] tough, honed-to-the-bone thriller…. [He] writes like … an avenging angel that dips its pen in blood.” —The Dallas Morning News
“Brilliant . . . Blake’s masterful action-driven narrative and his revealing look at the ultra-violent Mexican drug trade rival the best of Don Winslow and Kem Nunn.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Blake’s prose is muscular, his dialogue and details are keenly observed . . . a new spin on the hard-edged outlaw tale . . . [a] fascinating family portrait . . . his characters are lively and so is hit plot”one hell of a ride.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Blake’s customary zest for life and death makes his latest modern historical thriller violent, sexy and exciting.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Blake doesn’t just know the territory, the language and the players—he also knows how to tell a great story.” —Shelf Awareness
“For anyone who has never experienced the exceptional talent of the idiosyncratic Blake, this is a wonderful novel to start with. . . . Passionate, bloody and yet incredibly romantic, it is a tribute to the genius of its author, a modern James M. Cain, who started out as a snake-catcher before becoming a writer.” —Daily Mail (UK)
“I love reading James Carlos Blake. . . . His characters are criminals and types, but they are never just typical . . . [they] are people we get to know well, and we care about what happens to them. . . . This book isn’t only about rules to live by, but ways of ruling, of being in charge of yourself and others. . . . The plot may make readers call this book ‘genre noir’ but the sentences show Blake’s literary chops.” —Erin Stalcup, Waxwing
“Deft plotting and crisp, clean prose. . . . Few writers are better than Blake when the time comes to tally the price of honor among thieves. Without a wasted word, he has crafted a pitch-perfect borderlands thriller.” —Bruce Dinges, Arizona Historical Society
“[Blake is a] master creator of the sympathetic outlaw. . . . A killer read.” —Christine Wald-Hopkins, Tucson Weekly
“A gripping, muscular tale.” —Tucson Weekly
“This sand-blasted odyssey is quick, bloody and beautiful with prose as eloquent and unexpected as a cactus flower.” —Madison County Herald
“[A]n action-packed thrill ride. . . . While new readers who discover Blake with The Rules of Wolfe will enjoy the book on its own merit, others who’ve read his previous book [Country of the Bad Wolfes] will appreciate that it is part of a much broader canvas.” —Publishers Weekly
“Wonderful writing.” —Huntington News
A Deadly Pleasures Best Novel of the Year
A Men’s Journal Best Book of the Year
One of Booklist‘s 101 Best Crime Novels of the Past Decade
Shortlisted for the 2015 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger Award
He has never killed anyone before, though he has come close. He now has his first clear look at the dead man’s face—tongue extruding, mustache thick, bulging eyes scarlet. The girl is zipping up her jeans, pulling on a T-shirt, big-eyed but moving with purpose.
She takes up an open switchblade from the bedside table and folds it and puts it in her pocket. Eddie has no idea where the knife came from. As she stuffs T-shirts and underwear into her tote bag, she asks Eddie if he’s hurt.
It rankles him that she seems less frightened than he is, but his anger helps to suppress his fear.
Who the hell’s this guy?
She takes a wad of pesos from the dresser and puts it in her jeans. “You don’t know? Enrique.”
“El Segundo,” she says. The bastard wasn’t supposed to be here till much later. Him and his prick brother.” She lofts Eddie’s pants to him.
“Segundo? You’re Segundo’s woman?” She looks at the dead man. “Not anymore.”
“Oh Jesus Christ . . .”
“Take it easy, kid. We—”
“Take it easy? They’ll kill me twenty times.”
“Me too,” she says. “But they have to catch us first.”