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Frontera Dreams: A Héctor Belascoarán Shayne Detective Novel Paperback – July, 2002

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"If anyone wants to read this book as a simple mystery novel, that's his business," sniffs Argentinean journalist Rudolfo Walsh in an epigraph. Bill Verner translates Paco Ignacio Taibo II's spare, literary Frontera Dreams: A Hector Balascor n Shayne Detective Novel, in which the one-eyed existentialist Mexican investigator searches for a lost love, ponders border crossings and drug traffickers, and communes with Pancho Villa's ghost along the "green mesh fence" separating the U.S. and Mexico.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Spanish
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press; 1 edition (July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 093831758X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0938317586
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #639,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Marco Antonio Abarca VINE VOICE on August 17, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hector Belascoaran Shayne is one of greatest characters in all of mystery fiction. The one eyed anarchist is at his very best when he is Mexico City. This is his home and he has wonderful eye for the absurdities of daily life in the world's largest city. However, problems begin when he leaves the D.F. for the frontera. Both Belascoaran Shayne and the book meander around both sides of the US-Mexico Border. The frontera is not Taibo's beat and unfortunately this is evident in the book. I would recommend this book only to die hard Taibo fans. For those new to Taibo, check out his earlier books.
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Format: Paperback
"Poor Mexico" exclaimed dictator Porfirio Diaz, "so far from God and so close to the United States!" That says it all. The entire border is a huge Zone of Distortion warped by the looming proximity of the Giant to the North. I felt it as far south as Los Mochis, Durango and Chihuahua, and did not feel entirely free of it until I got to Guanajuato and Queretaro.
Poor Hector Belascoaran Shayne has been knifed, shot at, and even left for dead -- but Paco Taibo keeps bringing him back for more. In this case, it is childhood crush Natalia Smith-Corona, an actress whose daughter has reported her missing and sends the stout detective on a hallucinogenic chase among the narcotraficantes, DEA agents, ambiguous chiefs of police, 300 whores from Zacatecas, and other loonies -- the worst of whom is a right winger named Quayle (sadly, no relation to the former vice president).
FRONTERA DREAMS is not quite linear in its organization, resembling at times some of those strange Italian spy movies of the 1960s that capitalized on the James Bond craze. If you don't like the feeling of not knowing where you are going, this novel will not please you.
On the other hand, if you see it as a shaggy dog story that, as it moves rapidly from one location to the next, gives you some feeling of the strangeness of El Border, you might enjoy it as much as I have. This is my third Shayne novel, and I look forward to reading all of them, if only someone would come along and translate the first of the series (DIAS DE COMBATE) into English.
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It has many elements of a full-length novel, skillfully presented in the 120-page short novel or novella range. An engaging protagonist, an array of enemies and allies, a mysterious border jumper, and an elusive romantic interest. The structure is a tightly woven hero's journey, and the traveled areas along the Southwest border are rich with novelty and intrigue. Taibo writes with flair, a sort of fearless writing that reminds me of Hunter Thompson.
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Short. Entertaining in places. Uneven. Very 80s postmodern style. Interesting take on the border. Plot is secondary and doesn't hold up. Okay translation.
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