After Jimmy puts his life and career in the toilet at the beginning of this novel, things get even more interesting. A 12-year-old illegal named Tino comes looking for him after getting separated from his mother during a border crossing. Jimmy’s work to get some illegals their paperwork only a short time ago has made him a hero down in Mexico. But after Tino breaks into Jimmy’s office and steals money that Jimmy has stolen to get a cop in trouble, neither one of them are exactly enchanted with the other.
However, they need each other to escape from the police. It’s this forced symbiosis, this artificial father/son relationship, that takes shape during the course of this novel that is the heart and soul of the story. No matter what they do, they can’t escape each other. Especially after Jimmy’s ex-wife, whom he’s still in love with, forces them to work together to try to find Marisol, Tino’s missing mom.
The novel takes a little bit of time setting up all the characters at the beginning. But once the road trip begins, Levine drives the plot full tilt, like an eighteen-wheeler that’s just blown the brakeline on a downhill run. I couldn’t put the novel down, and I’m betting that any reader who picks it up won’t be able to either.
Levine deals with the illegal immigration and employee problems with honesty and presents both sides. But that’s a small part of the entertainment he offers. I never got the impression that this was a politically based book. Levine just uses the California/Mexico situation as a great backdrop to the simple father/son redemption story he wants to tell. I can’t wait till the second one.