Review: Border Son by Samuel Parker

Border Son by Samuel Parker
JD's Rating: 4.5 out of 5 bookmarks

What a wild ride this book was. It starts off just a tad slow, but once it gets the momentum built up, it never stops! With wonderfully genuine characters in constant peril and facing some very real internal and external dilemmas, Border Son is a roller coaster of emotions that I truly didn’t want to end.

One of the elements of the story that pulled me in so completely was the “out of the headlines” sort of plot and the vivid characters that were so plausible and believable. We’ve got drug cartels, gang violence, coyotes smuggling people into the US, and the tension of all those coming together in one small little town on the Mexican side of the border. Living in the Phoenix Metro area and having traveled down south to some of the cities near the border on numerous occasions gives me a perspective on the setting of this story that I don’t think all readers will have. My knowledge of this area just made the story that much more real.

The main characters of Ed and his son Tyler are so realistic. I found myself drawn to Ed and empathizing with his pain, uncertainty, and the full scope of emotions he goes through in the story. Even though Tyler is a quintessential prodigal, I also felt some affinity with him at certain moments as well. And I believe this is a testament to the author’s ability to paint so vividly with his words.

And indeed Parker does have a way with words. As I also alluded to in my review of his previous book, he knows exactly how to set a scene in a most compelling way that pulls the reader in. There were several elements of the story that were a bit predictable, but because I was so engrossed in the characters and their world I didn't really mind. I was just enjoying the ride.

Given the nature of the story setting, there is a fair amount of violence, as you might expect. There are multiple murders, including a few that are quite gruesome and which are described fairly explicitly. There are many mentions of drug and alcohol use as well. The environments that are being presented in this story are not pretty ones, but they are very real ones and although this book, being a novel, is not necessarily trying to offer solutions or advise on how to handle them, it does shine a light on them which I think is important.

Given all the points mentioned above, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Border Son and will certainly continue to follow Samuel Parker's work in the future. When asked what he hoped readers would gain from reading the book, Parker said that he hopes they will think about "how we treat people and our duty to love people, even when it's not in our best interest to do so." I would say that he's achieved his goal with this reader.

I'd recommend this book to readers of suspense and thrillers who are 18 and up due to the abundance of violent depictions. This is a well-written, gritty novel that I think many many readers will enjoy diving into.

J.D. Sutter is the producer and host of the Bookworm Banquet podcast and editor of the blog. He is the founder of Porchlight Family Media.

Disclosure: The publisher provided us with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

J.D. Sutter

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