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Under the Blood Moon Paperback – August 17, 2022
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Guadalupe, New Mexico is usually a pretty quiet town. That is until everything starts going to hell with a series of bizarre murders. Not to mention, a demon gives birth at a park. A boy disappears in the middle of a swimming pool. Rattlesnakes invade the town. Asked by his best friend the sheriff to assist in the investigation, Prosecutor Matthew Riley suspects a high-end resort development is at the heart of the crimes. But he also discovers a conspiracy of the living has opened the door for an ancient evil seeking revenge for old and new betrayals that threaten his own family.
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- Publisher : Dark Ink (August 17, 2022)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 366 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1943201838
- ISBN-13 : 978-1943201839
- Item Weight : 13.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.82 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,108,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #59,550 in Horror Literature & Fiction
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In Under the Blood Moon (2022, Dark Ink Books), Patricia Santos Marcantonio delivers an accomplished contemporary thriller of the American Southwest aboil with mysticism and gritty realism. At first glance her fictional town of Guadalupe, New Mexico may seem far removed from Garcia Marquez’s Macondo or Rulfo’s Comalo, but as Marcantonio’s tale unfolds, the town earns a place in the canons of Latin American magical realism.
From the outset we learn something is amiss in the civic life of Guadalupe, which resembles any of a handful of cities scattered across the valley floors of northern New Mexico. It has an old central town square, quiet neighborhoods, diners, dive bars, a county courthouse and high hopes for a shimmering new resort development just north of town. Guadalupe’s inhabitants are a combination of old Spanish and indigenous families along with newer, whiter and more affluent neighbors, several of whom are conspiring to transform the area into a Sedona-like destination. And then there are the spirits, withering entities whose claims to a certain pristine slice of high desert predate those of anyone who has ever known concrete, steel or glass.
Nothing in Guadalupe is quite as it seems. Marcantonio’s protagonist, District Attorney Mathew Riley, carries a name and complexion that would be at home in South Boston, but a back story true to the region’s mesas and arroyos. To close friends and his mother, he is Mateo, the overachieving hometown boy, raised by a single parent after having been abandoned by ne’er-do-well Riley senior.
When we first meet Riley, he is triumphant but in a ridiculed way, winning a jury trial over a pathetic cattle thief in a case that should never have gone to court. It may be his last court appearance as DA. Ambitious and tired of the small time, he has accepted a job in the state attorney general’s office in Albuquerque and is working to clear his desk ahead of the appointment of his handpicked successor. Despite his high-minded nature and incorruptible profile, he is also about to relegate his own son to life in a single parent household, this one headed by his estranged wife. That wife, an indefatigable journalist who writes and shoots photos for the local daily, is entwined in every aspect of Riley’s life and as weird occurrences evolve under the blood moon of the book’s title, the interweaving of their relationship gets uncomfortably tighter at a time when Mateo aims to loosen their ties.
There is also an important buddy element to Marcantonio’s tale. Mateo and the lovable but inept local sheriff, Benjamin Ortega, are lifelong friends, and when weirdness descends on Guadalupe in the form of a bizarre drowning and murders, Sheriff Ben leans heavily on his intellectually sharper amigo to make sense of everything. Everything includes greed, civic venality, ancient rituals and intense strains on the bonds of friendship.
Along the way, Marcantonio keeps the narrative fluid and sprightly. She is a master of simile, which adds its own kind of magic to the mix and brightens the story’s darker moments. The book is captivating and before you know it, its nearly 400 pages have disappeared like a high desert mirage or the restless spirits of an ancient village finally and magically put to rest.
Marcantonio immersed me in great Latino and Mexican local color, and ancient horror in a buddy detective story that made me feel like I was part of the investigating team. Creepy atmosphere, vivid characters, poignant moments, and snappy lines make Under the Blood Moon an engaging story that will give you a tingly chill if you read it home alone at night.
There are a few minor production errors, but they did not diminish my enjoyment of this book. From a well-crafted slow burn to a fast, satisfying ending, this story is worth the goosebumps you’ll get tearing through it. Add to cart.
Under the Blood Moon is a fantastic read, bringing Mexican-American folklore to the forefront of growing up in the mid-west. Unique, spooky stories that give you a scare, but don't entice you to put down the book. I found it very difficult to stop reading out of a necessity to know what happens next.
I strongly recommend this book, as well as any other book by Patricia. You truly cannot go wrong selecting a Patricia Santos Marcantonio novel.