The Mysterious Press
The Mysterious Press
The Mysterious Press

The Ways of Wolfe

by James Carlos Blake

From CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger Award finalist James Carlos Blake, a rousing novel about an imprisoned member of the outlaw Wolfe family who risks escape for the chance to see his long-lost daughter again.

  • Imprint The Mysterious Press
  • Page Count 304
  • Publication Date September 05, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2577-4
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $25.00

About the Book

A master of historical and crime fiction, Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner James Carlos Blake delves back into the dark realms of the Wolfe family, a clan whose roots run deep on both sides of the United States-Mexico border, and whose prevailing interests straddle both sides of the law. Twenty years ago, college student Axel Prince Wolfe—heir apparent to his Texas family’s esteemed law firm and its “shade trade” criminal enterprises—teamed up with his best friend, Billy, and a Mexican stranger in a high-end robbery that went wrong. Abandoned by his partners, he was captured and imprisoned, his family disgraced, his wife absconded, his infant daughter Jessie left an orphan. Two decades later, with eleven years still to serve, Axel has long since exhausted his desire for revenge against the partners who deserted him. All he wants now is to see the woman his daughter has become, despite her lifelong refusal to acknowledge him. When the chance comes to escape in the company of Cacho, a young Mexican inmate with ties to a major cartel, Axel takes it, and a massive manhunt ensues, taking the pair down the Rio Grande and into a desert inferno. With his chance to see Jessie now within reach, a startling discovery reignites an old passion and sends Axel headlong toward reckonings many years in the making.

Racing across desolate landscapes from West Texas to the Gulf of Mexico, The Ways of Wolfe is the taut story of one man’s love for a daughter he has never met and his fateful struggle with his own reckless spirit.


The Ways of Wolfe exhibits James Carlos Blake’s hallmark fast-paced, pummeling style, but it also proves to be a character study and a sort of examination of the allure of the unlawful . . . A rewarding, vividly wrought, gripping ride.” —Arizona Daily Star

“Blood loyalty, forgiveness, and the consequences of violence all figure in Blake’s outstanding fourth Border Noir featuring the Wolfes . . . Tough, muscular prose complements Blake’s powerful storytelling.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Blake is a writer fans will follow anywhere. He brings the border to life with blunt precision and evokes the lionization of outlaws that can be found there . . . Extremely satisfying, right up to the noir ending.” —Keir Graff, Booklist

Praise for James Carlos Blake

“One of the greatest chroniclers of the mythical American outlaw life . . . Blake is capable of descriptions as lush and elegaic as anything Cormac McCarthy, to whom he is often compared, has ever written. But his work is more reminiscent of Larry McMurtry’s Western novels—only harsher and bloodier . . . Blake favors straight-talking, unschooled narrators who speak in a vivid, salty vernacular, and his fiction is so readable—so folksy, action-packed, and earthy—it’s easy to miss the fact that it is also, frequently, brilliant.” —Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly

“One of the most original writers in America today and certainly one of the bravest.” —Chicago Sun-Times

“James Carlos Blake is of the Cormac McCarthy/Sam Peckinpah school of storytelling: Make it bloody as hell, but make it beautiful . . . a master of lyric description.” —The Dallas Morning News

“One of the best and most original writers in America today.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Blake’s literary badlands are uniquely his own—crime novels set in well-researched historical settings that manage to avoid crime-fiction clichés.” —GQ

“Blake remains a poet of the damned who writes like an angel.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Blake’s characters are tough, hardscrabble, unsentimental people who too often make bad decisions, and Blake is their patient witness.” —Arizona Daily Star


They’re only a hundred yards from the prison and still in blurry sight of it when, through the pounding of the rain, they hear the rising wail of Zanco’s lockdown sirens.

“They’re on to us!” Axel says.

“Go! Hit it!” says Cacho.

As the van gains speed, there’s a thunk-pock of a bullet piercing the roof and forming a starburst near the bottom of the windshield an instant before they hear the rifle shot.

“Floor it!” Cacho shouts.

“It’s floored!” the driver says. “It’s four-cylinder.”

The tower guard is armed with a semiautomatic Ruger and its reports come in quick succession. The shooter is an able rifleman and his bullets punch through the rooftop, through the hatchback door and window, whang off the metal framework, and lodge in the windshield, in the center console, in the padding of the seats.

“Holy Mother!” Cacho says, his forearms clasped on top of his head.

“Cut the lights! Weave!” Axel yells, crouched behind Cacho, pressed against the panel door.

With its lights off, the van’s a tougher target, and the driver shrugs low over the steering wheel, wipers flapping at full tempo, tires whumping through puddles, the driver weaving through the rain haze but only slightly for fear of skidding off the road. Then the gate tower’s spotlight comes ablaze and its beam races up the road through the glittering rain and finds the hatchback door.