The Walther family takes up arms with other U.S. citizens when an exodus of undocumented Mexican immigrants crosses the border in Schulz’s (co-author: Brokerage Fraud, 2001) political thriller debut.
As the story opens, Mexico is crippled by a depression and its government and military have been unable to stop a revolutionary guerrilla army from wreaking havoc. As a result, millions of Mexicans enter the United States unlawfully and many ultimately raid stores or hijack trucks for food. The Walther brothers—professor Craig, border patrol officer Dave, stockbroker Cliff, and executive Mark—live in different states with their own families but are all in the mob’s path. They find that they must defend themselves in whatever way possible—especially after the raiders start stealing guns. This novel takes a serious national issue and convincingly fits it into a thriller-genre storyline. Fortunately, the author doesn’t demonize either the Mexicans or their country; instead, he shows that it only takes one or two persons to incite a mob to violence. There are good and bad characters on both sides: Mexican stock trader Fernando and his wife, Carla, who lost everything in the crumbling Mexican economy, are both sympathetic, while Cliff is decidedly unsympathetic—an unfaithful husband and a racist and homophobe to boot. Schulz knows how to dish out thriller elements, including a few gunfights, surprising deaths, and an implication of a powerful conspiracy. However, the story leans very far to the conservative right, and characters’ discussions of “bleeding-heart liberals,” for example, may eventually grow wearisome for some. Women, in particular, are often equated with liberalism; President Rosemary Denton’s administration is almost exclusively female and seems more interested in having votes than making decisions. The president’s personal adviser is portrayed as a man-hating lesbian and perpetuates distasteful stereotypes. The overall story, however, is less offensive as it attempts to spark debate on amnesty for undocumented immigrants.
A thriller that adeptly makes use of real-world issues, but its political angle is too heavy-handed.