Title: TEXAS SICARIO [Arlo Baines #2]
Author: Harry Hunsicker
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Crime Fiction
BACK COVER BLURB
Still mourning the murders of his wife and children, former Texas Ranger Arlo Baines now works security at a bazaar in Dallas. Grief-stricken, he’s invested his heart and hope in the welfare of Miguel—a street kid who’s become his surrogate son. But the wounds of a brutal past are hard to heal, especially when a new case threatens to rip them open all over again.
Approached by a colleague now working for the DEA to investigate the seemingly random murders of prominent Latino businessmen, Arlo works to expose the common link: an ultra-violent drug cartel pushing into northern Texas. As the vicious power struggle between the gangs turns the streets of Dallas into a war zone, Arlo’s investigation threatens everything he loves.
When grief, anger, and secrets stretch the bonds of loyalty to their breaking point, Arlo can trust no one—but must risk everything to protect what remains.
WHAT I THOUGHT
TEXAS SICARIO comes across as a contrived, if not, formulaic read that suffers from White Knight syndrome, in that the MC of Arlo Baines, is constantly saving someone. From the bad guys—the usual drug cartels at war—or themselves, Javier, a ‘friend’ and current boss, whose life he saved from suicide, and the young child, Miguel.
While a fairly fast read, as the story itself is short. It nonetheless follows the standard pattern, drifter ex Marine/Cop/Soldier/Law Enforcement person (take your pick) trying to get past their own personal ugly history of loss and grief, comes into town (High Plains Drifter, AKA, Clint Eastwood) and immediately is the good ‘Gringo’ figuring it all out as everyone else seems too stupid, or too corrupt to. With every POC being reduced to a stereotype that bordered on the insulting.
The setting is as standard as the template plot, set in Dallas with a backdrop of poverty, seedy motels, and rundown areas of the ‘glitter’ city. Where the drug cartels vie for turf and people’s souls. And the characters do little beyond the expected in their support roles. As with Frank Vega, the criminal defence lawyer inadvertently laundering money for one of the drug cartels trying to establish themselves, and his wife, Quinn, who Baines just happened to have gone to school with. Again, another prop for the White Knight.
The hackneyed dialogue also suffered, never rising beyond the expected. And after a while, became rather tedious. With the hispanic cartel enforcer, Fito, threatening Arlo, Javier and Quinn in Javier’s bar, spouting such pearls as:
“She’s a looker, isn’t she? After all this settles down, I’m gonna have to show her what a real man is like.”
That is just an example of the woefully sad dialogue, which never improves, as this story fumbles its way to a dreadful conclusion that leaves the reader just hanging.
A generic book, with a generic cast of characters that the author uses to tell a familiar theme within crime fiction, of the fallen hero, drug cartels, and what people will do to make a fast buck.
Rating: 5 /10