‘Sin Walks into the Desert,’ by Mat Ingwalson

I’m not entirely sure what to say about Sin Walks into the Desert by Matt Ingwalson. The book’s concept was interesting enough to persuade me to download it, and I read it to the end (something I’m less and less willing to do with sub-par books). So this is a well-crafted and interesting novel. Very noir, in a modern vein, which is to say, kind of goth.

Sin (short for Anderson, his first name) is a… well it’s hard to figure what he is. He’s a loner. He looks and dresses and has tattoos like any ordinary punk, and he’s fairly neurotic. But he has special skills. As a boy (not that long ago) he was on the verge of murdering someone when his uncle (an FBI agent) summoned just in time by his worried parents, swept him up, took him home with him, and began training him to turn his natural gift for violence to useful purposes. But Sin never joined the FBI, or even the military. It isn’t made clear how he makes his living, unless I missed it.

Anyway, his uncle, whom he calls el Viejo, has disappeared, and friends fear something bad has happened to him. So Sin sets out to track the captors, employing the formidable skills he learned from the old man. This leads to a pretty shattering revelation, when all is said and done and a few people are dead.

If you like your books dark, you’ll like this one. I found Sin himself hard to like, but the writing and characterization are good, laid down in spare, downbeat prose.

Cautions for the usual. Moderately recommended, only because of my ambivalence about the main character.

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