Sam Quiñones's third book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, was released by Bloomsbury Press.
Sam explains: "The story of this epidemic involves shoelaces, rebar, Levi’s 501s, cellphones, football, Walmart, American prosperity, with marketing, with Mexican poverty and social competition, and with the biggest swimming pool in the US and what happened when that was destroyed.
"It’s about the marketing of prescription pills as a solution to pain of all kinds, and about a small town in Mexico where young men have devised a system for retailing heroin across America like it was pizza.
"The tale took me from Appalachia to suburbs in Southern California, into one of the biggest drug-abuse stories of our time – and one of the quietest, and whitest as well.
It’s been a long haul, and I thank the many people I met and spoke to along the way as I put together this American saga.
Hope you like it. – Sam
From the publisher: Over the past fifteen years, enterprising sugar cane farmers in the small county of Xalisco on the west coast of Mexico have created a unique distribution system that has brought black tar heroin--the cheapest, most addictive form of the opiate, two to three times purer than its white powder cousin--to the veins of people across the United States. Communities where heroin had never been seen before have become overrun with it.
Local police and residents are stunned: How could heroin, long considered a drug found only in the dense, urban environments along the East Coast, and trafficked into the United States by enormous Colombian drug cartels, be so incredibly ubiquitous in the American heartland? Who was bringing it here and why were so many townspeople suddenly eager for the comparatively cheap high it offered?
Acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of American capitalism in Doped Up: Young men in Mexico, independent of the drug cartels, in search of their own American Dream via the fast and enormous profits of trafficking cheap black tar heroin to America's rural and suburban addicts; and Purdue Pharma, determined to corner the market on pain with its new and expensive miracle drug, Oxycontin, extremely addictive in its own right. Quinones illuminates just how these two stories fit together as cause and effect. Doped Up is a dramatic and revelatory account of addiction spreading to every part of the American landscape.
“The most original writer on Mexico and the border out there.” – San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“Journalist Quinones weaves an extraordinary story, including the personal journeys of the addicted, the drug traffickers, law enforcement, and scores of families affected by the scourge, as he details the social, economic, and political forces that eventually destroyed communities in the American heartland and continues to have a resounding impact.” – starred review, Booklist
“In Dreamland, former Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Quinones deftly recounts how a flood of prescription pain meds, along with black tar heroin from Nayarit, Mexico, transformed the once-vital blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, and other American communities into heartlands of addiction. With prose direct yet empathic, he interweaves the stories of Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics agents, and small-town folks whose lives were upended by the deluge of drugs, leaving them shaking their heads, wondering how they could possibly have resisted.” – Mother Jones
“Dreamland spreads out like a transnational episode of The Wire, alternately maddening, thrilling, depressing, and with writing as sharp and insightful as a razor blade. You cannot understand our drug war and Mexican immigration to the United States without reading this book.” – Gustavo Arellano, syndicated columnist, ¡Ask a Mexican!,
“Unflinching . . . compellingly investigated.” – Kirkus
“Fascinating . . . a harrowing, eye-opening look at two sides of the same coin, the legal and illegal faces of addictive painkillers and their insidious power.” – Publishers Weekly
Innsmouth Free Press 30% off
Buy direct and get 30% off selected print titles until July 5. Choose from these anthologies or collections. On their website, click on the title you are interested in, click on “add to cart” button located below the book summary. Discount applied at checkout. Here are just two of the selections:
Love & Other Poisons by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy. This collection of 18 speculative stories, including three never found in print before, explores the meaning of love, and, of course, of poison.
Sword & Mythos – The blades of heroes clash against the darkest sorcery. Aztec warriors ready for battle, intent on conquering a neighboring tribe, but different gods protect the Matlazinca. For Arthur Pendragon, the dream of Camelot has ended. What remains is a nightmarish battle against his own son, who is not quite human. Master Yue, the great swordsman, sets off to discover what happened to a hamlet that was mysteriously abandoned. He finds evil.Sunsorrow, the ancient dreaming sword, pried from the heart of the glass god, yearns for Carcosa. Fifteen writers, drawing inspiration from the pulp sub-genres of sword and sorcery and the Cthulhu Mythos, seed stories of adventure, of darkness, of magic and monstrosities. From Africa to realms of neverwhere, here is heroic fantasy with a twist.
From the publisher: Nick Ayres wanted to be the first man to explore all of Caye Caulkers’ Giant Cave, the largest underwater cave in the world. Instead of fame and fortune, he found death at the hands of something that defies science, accidentally unleashing it on the island’s unsuspecting population.
Gabriel Robles is the man hired to take care of the monster. He knows the water and its inhabitants better than anyone else, but he's never faced something so deadly. Robles has to figure something out quick, because the victims are piling up and it’s only a matter of time before the blood in the water becomes a problem for all of Belize, maybe even the world.
Ancient Hunger, Silent Wings
|tejano author David Bowles|
Devilfish Review just published David Bowles's fantasy story featuring 18th-century Mexican vampires. Here's the opening:
Nicolasa Sandoval Murillo had not quite reached her thirteenth saint’s day when the hunger came upon her, sudden and sharp like talons round her gut, in the middle of the night. She crept wincing but quiet to the kitchen, where her grandmother’s clay olla of beans cooled slowly upon dying embers in the wood stove. Snatching up a cold tortilla someone had left on the roughhewn table, Nicolasa uncovered the jar and began shoveling the spicy mixture into her mouth. Soon she found herself gagging—the beans, normally delicious, tasted of ash and bile. With a frantic lurch she stumbled out of doors and vomited an acidic stream onto the mucky street.
The door opened behind her, and a figure emerged with a petroleum lantern: it was her grandmother Florencia Murillo—Mamá Lencha—and in place of anger or concern, a look of resigned understanding smoothed the woman’s wrinkled brow.
“It is the hunger, yes? It awakened you.”
Nicolasa nodded, her empty stomach too queasy for speech.
Read the entire tale, here.
If you're on Twitter, you know what "storifies" means. Read two origin storifies about his great novel, Shadowshaper.
Es todo hoy, since I'm behind on my reading,
RudyG, a.k.a. Chicano author Rudy Ch. Garcia, this week, completing what he imagines is his first great kids' story. We'll all know, if it lands up here.