Monday, July 1, 2013

'Trail of the Chupacabra' by Stephen Randel

Official Summary:
Avery Bartholomew Pendleton is back, and he’s just as crazy as ever. Avery is a paranoid loner obsessed with global conspiracy theories who spends most of his time crafting absurd and threatening letters to anyone who offends him. That means pretty much everyone.

Still convinced of the existence of the mythical Mexican chupacabra*, Avery enlists the assistance of the Southwest Texas Revolutionary Armed Confederate Border Operations Militia (STRAC-BOM) and their manic leader, General X-Ray, to help him invade Mexico. Accompanied by Ziggy, a burned-out hippy, and an uncommonly large iguana named Nancy, the group follows the advice of a New Orleans voodoo priestess and heads straight into the Mexican desert.

Unfortunately for the motley gang of explorers, Mexico can be a dangerous place if you cross the wrong people -- specifically, the Padre, a vicious drug cartel boss, and El Barquero, a murderous gunrunner who has crossed Avery’s path before.

What unfolds is a laugh-out-loud dark comedy of insane humor, unforgettable characters, and chilling thrills.

*No chupacabras were injured in the writing of this book.

Trail of the Chupacabra’ by Stephen Randel is a fabulous revisit to the world of ‘The Chupacabra’, released last year. While Kip and his father Bennett’s story take a backseat during this installment, we get to see a whole lot more Avery – a self-proclaimed technical god, possible genius and letter writer extraordinaire – his best friend, Ziggy – Avery’s complete opposite and a guy who totally reminds me of someone I know – and STRAC-BOM… and who doesn’t love that motley band of gun totting, 'Merica loving guys? 

As this strange group of monster hunters (of chupacabra and otherwise) are running back and forth over the United States and Mexican border they somehow manage to stumble into, and magically survive through, stings, crossfire, explosions and chance meetings with cartel goons at just about every corner, all while maintaining an endearing innocence (or inflated sense of self importance in Avery’s case), that is sure to keep your eyes glued to the page. 

Like its predecessor, ‘Trail of the Chupacabra’ is filled with punchy one-liners, “so-bad-they’re-great” jokes, and a richly diverse cast of mostly demented, but incredibly deep characters. While this title doesn’t have one ounce of fantasy (a genre that this particular reviewer usually thrives on) the fantastical world that Randel paints through the main character Avery gives any book about vampires or faeries a run for its money.

Bottom Line: If you love books like ‘Domestic Violets’ or the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, I honestly think this one, (or ‘TheChupacabra’ if you haven’t read it yet) is right up your alley. In fact, this one gets the T.T.P. satisfaction guaranteed. Yes, it’s just that good. I promise.

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