by Tony D’Souza (D’Ivoire 2000–02, Madagascar 2002-03)
Blissfully happy in a new relationship and orbiting the trendy Austin party scene, James and Kate thought they had everything figured out. When the downturn not yet called the Great Recession and an unexpected pregnancy turn their world upside down, they cut costs by relocating to a tiny cabin in Northern California.
There James is introduced to the underground world of primo-marijuana transport, in which the wages for a week’s cross-country driving could comfortably support a family for months. After the first payload turns into repeated California-Florida trips, James must decide how much time he’s willing to devote to his risky new career. Without glorifying or condemning the couple’s choices, D’Souza articulates the existential tensions that affect so many of America’s recession generation. His authorial voice is sharp and crisp, eschewing flowery prose for a hard-hitting narrative style that perfectly suits the page-turning, drugfueled tale. Fans of Toby Young and Max Barry and those who follow D’Souza’s magazine work will greatly enjoy the timely, witty, fast-paced Mule.
from Library Journal
In his third novel, D’Souza (Whiteman) provides an in-depth look at the creation of a drug mule. James, a young writer thrown out of work by the recession, delivers a pound of prime-grade marijuana to a friend in Texas as a one-time money-making opportunity. But with his wife, Kate, and a new baby to support, James soon builds a cross-country courier route stretching from California to Florida and finds himself constantly on the road, delivering drugs to an increasingly sketchy and dangerous group of contacts. The money is great, but with each trip the risks-and James’s crimes-grow exponentially more serious. VERDICT Despite thinly drawn characters, this gripping novel provides an insider’s view of drug trafficking. While in some sections it reads like a how-to for drug mules, D’Souza’s careful pacing and narrative style provide a tension-filled ride. Recommended for readers who enjoy crime novels and general fiction.