God’s Little Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre, by Richard Grant

Yet another mem's book club selection. If you are a reader, please find a book club, perhaps check with your library for suggestions, and join one with a reasonable size and compatible interests. What a gift!

This book is, at its heart I suppose, a spectacularly exciting, gory, profane and scary travelogue of someone who is crazy enough to travel the Mexican Sierra Madre - alone, for the most part. The bad guys are truly awful, and the good guys are simply bad, with some few exceptions. Apparently the 800 or so miles of the NW to SE spine of the Sierra Madre mountains are for a significant degree without much normal civilization, inhabited by criminal gangs and illegal crops. The book includes a somewhat hard-to-read map (magnifying glasses are recommended) and it appears the author follows a path generally from NW to SE, with lots of zigs and zags and plenty of places not on the map.

The author describes (from the book) "a hillbilly vendetta culture now up to its eyeballs in illegal narcotics, the world's most murderous business enterprise." As a kid who grew up in the heart of eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia, I've heard talk of such remote pockets in those areas, but this book takes the proverbial cake for sure.

Each chapter is, more or less, independent ... actually another add-on section with new place names and new people to encounter with new twists and turns ... a blizzard that keeps on giving, but gradually makes this reader simply hope the end is near. At some point, I stopped trying to keep the names and places separate and just decided to relax and enjoy an increasingly similar ride.

Jim George


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