The Burn, by Graham Dillistone
Patrick Morales has problems: his wife of three years has left him, taking the furniture, and he’s not too sure that teaching bio-genetics at Rutgers is what he ought to be doing with his life. Things get worse when a Florida senator sends him down to Peru to investigate the burn, a painful sensation the peasants are experiencing when they chew coca.
People on both sides of the drug war turn out to be very interested in the burn: Pat gets arrested on a false drugs charge, and is then broken out of jail by Colombian traffickers. Through all this he is supported by a Miami hooker, Faymi Calderon, whose cocaine-using friends are beginning to suffer from the burn. Faymi is damaged goods, fiercely self-protective, but also intensely loyal to the friendship that forms between them. On the run, Pat struggles to find answers, both to the burn and its origins, and to Faymi’s emotional block.
This is a thriller, and a love story, with narco-politics as the background. The action moves from Miami and Washington to Houston, and then to a final climax on the Mexican border.
Graham Dillistone, who was born in Toronto, has published fiction in England and Germany under the pseudonym Richard Stone. This is his first novel set in the United States.
The Burn is in beta form but has gone through several rounds of drafting and is of very high quality.
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