Book Review

          09.29.2013    Book Trailer    Buy the Book at Amazon
 
 
Reviewed by Hispanically Speaking News. October 29, 2013.
 
Murder and the Dog 



A Novella by Raúl Guerrero
An SeBooks publication.
E-book $5.99.  Kindle Store Amazon
Printed Edition, 104 pgs. $12.99.  Amazon's Create Space Store
 
 
Two immigrants, husband and wife, work day and night with the goal of buying a small farm back home where they left five children. He leaves before five every morning and returns past one the following morning. She is up at 3 am making bread, empanadas, all the breakfast products she sells to compatriots by the subway. Eight years have gone by.
 
One day she meets a man. She discovers a side of her she didn’t even know was there, and a stunning story unfolds. Like one characters claims: "We all carry a wild animal inside. Just push a man past his limits to see it."  
This is how Murder and the Dog starts:
 
A headless body was found inside a suitcase near Harlem. Two days later the husband was arrested. He confessed. He killed the wife in a jealous rage. That was the extent of The Post’s report. Intrigued, columnist Paul Ormaza called the precinct. That same afternoon he visited Ricker Island Jail.
Let’s meet some of the protagonists (excerpted from the novella):

The Husband
There he was, behind bars, enigmatically contained, like a puma, Quechua for mountain lion, and appearing taller than his five feet. Ormaza knew it was an optical illusion his long barrel torso created. Another characteristic typical to mountain folk was his strength. Chiluisa amazed coworkers at the meatpacking plant where he once worked, carrying on his back 250-pound carcasses and not break a sweat. “F****** Indian was a Samson,” the Ukrainian foreman told Ormaza. “Hard-worker, quiet, honest… People steal left and right. Everyday I catch some asshole slipping meet under his pants… Chiluisa never stole a sausage. I was sorry to see him go. He got a job in a Mexican restaurant, working fourteen hours, and then he cleaned offices in Queens.”

         
The Wife
Rosa de los Vientos had no formal schooling. She was illiterate. Her lover, a poet, taught her to read and write. In less than a month she was able to read a poem he wrote for her. He made her read it out loud. Enjoy each syllable, he said, as if words were candy. She loved it. Not that the syllables tasted like candy, they tasted like nothing, but she felt powerful, like she could do anything.

The Journalist
Paul Ormaza asked the young publisher’s assistant out to lunch. They had a bite and proceeded to the hotel. Not Ann’s first visit, she undressed gracefully and diligent. Left alone, unpressured, Ann staged delightful acts. She studied ballet for years and mime. Men, Ormaza told her, had lost the patience to appreciate a girl’s exhibitionism. Ann stopped rolling her pantyhose down at her ankles and looked at him over the shoulder. Boys her age were always in a hurry, she agreed. Climaxing was their only priority. Ormaza assured her it was not generational. Men his age had also traded the journey for the adrenaline of the arrival. Ann kneeled. Ormaza was sitting on the edge of the bed. She knew about his predilection for languid sex after lunch, and apologized. She had an editorial meeting at 2. A quickie had to do.

The Dog
Ormaza read drafts to Cocoo. Cocoo loved Ormaza’s readings, his base-baritone, and learned to appreciate the rhythm, the cadences, above all the periods ending paragraphs. When a paragraph prolonged excessively, Cocoo let out a grave bark. Ormaza tried reasoning that certain ideas were too complex for telegraphic paragraphs. Cocoo lifted those eyes of infinite compassion or exasperated stared until Ormaza got him a treat.
Murder and the Dog explores one uncomfortable question. Pushed to the limit, can a good man become a murderer? Like all fundamental questions, questions that probe the very essence of who we are, this novella’s question admits only one answer, borrowing from Shakespeare: the truth remains in the eye of the beholder.

Murder and the Dog is fast, concise—no adjectival fat—provocative, sexy, and funny, very funny. And at $5.99 you can’t go wrong—some lattes cost more.
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Amazon Kindle Review.
 
I enjoyed the matter of fact prose for something so grisly as decapitation. Reminded me of the detached writing style of Camus in the Stranger or of a film noir with the added bonus of social commentary. Extremely entertaining.
 
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Blurred Pictures
Brilliant! Hilarious!



Raúl Guerrero authored numerous books, notably the novels INSOLENCE and Cronista libertina. He contributes to publications worldwide, including The Barcelona Review, Revista Cambio, La Opinion, El Nuevo Herald and NY's El Diario.

About his work: 

Full of wicked wit and eccentric historical allusions. His writing is dark and hilarious. NBC News. 


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