Arresting: it spins a tale of murder and murky deeds, but really excels in how it seems to capture something essential at the heart of his adopted country... Call Him Mine soars in two regards. First MacGabhann paints an extraordinarily vivid picture of Mexico, in all its seething, sweltering madness and beauty. The last time I read a book which placed the reader so firmly and intensely into the heart of a place, it was the 'Fate' and 'Santa Teresa' sections of Roberto Bolano's great 2666: also set in Mexico and, perhaps not coincidentally, also written by an outsider. The second is the quality of MacGabhann's prose. Phrases like 'bruised poetry' sound glib I know, but it's about the best way I can think of describing Call Him Mine... It will be interesting to see where MacGabhann's career goes next. For now, Call Him Mine is a fine start.
A terrific, tightly-paced thriller that utterly transports its reader. With beautifully poetic visual description, the tale takes us from the saturated palettes and neon diffusions of Mexico City to the filthily polluted, crime-ravaged regions in the eastern part of the country - land rich with oil and horror... The sense of place, too, is utterly electric: with considered, efficient strikes, the story's sounds, smells, weather and colour diffuse across the narrative... Call Him Mine has been likened to 'Breaking Bad' and 'Narcos', and the narrative, with its fast-moving combinations of crucial quests, visceral violence and dark humour, is certainly gripping. But central to the trajectory of the plot is Andrew's uncovering of a scoop; though the subject may differ, the text's progress, in this respect, bears some similarity to the 2015 film Spotlight. Like Spotlight, it is cleverly composed of truths to be uncovered by the protagonist, and truths withheld by him - alluded to, and then gradually revealed in later stages. And like that film, MacGabhann's novel simultaneously informs and celebrates the diligence involved in gathering and disseminating that information: facts those in the highest echelons of power would rather stay deeply buried.
Audacious and affecting. From the first page the reader is immersed in a modern-day Mexico beset by drug cartels and corrupt police forces... Most books succeed or fail based on the sensibilities of their protagonists and the truth of their voices and Call Him Mine succeeds... In his writing MacGabhann has conjured up a vivid sense of place... the language of the prose is rich and radiant... The pacing of the book is breathtakingly fast, but the chapters are so well composed that we never lose sight of the flow or the narrative clarity... This exciting and accomplished novel is a major achievement, as MacGabhann displays the grace of Greene, the pace of Hammett, the imagination of Bolano and the darkness of Elroy. An exciting new voice in Irish writing.
Compelling and bold.
One thing novelists can do more effectively than journalists, perhaps, is to remind us that every killing in Mexico ought to seem as shocking an aberration as a murder in the St Mary Mead vicarage. This is one of the achievements of this debut novel by Tim MacGabhann, an Irish journalist and Mexico resident... Although this is a country in which "every lamppost on every street wears a peeled lagging of 'Missing' posters'", the novel is not an epic catalogue of depravity in the manner of Don Winslow's Cartel trilogy; instead, it uses just two murders as a focal point for Mexico's grief and rage... Pacy and exciting... The novel is written ... lyrically, with an offbeat humour, which helps defamiliarise a situation to which Western readers have become inured, and communicate its horrors afresh.
Both a harrowing thriller set in the horrific wilderness of the Mexican drug wars and a moving, gay love story, this striking debut by a new Irish author hits many buttons and deserves to be singled out for acclaim... Both a shimmering tale of feelings and the acute sense of loss, and a journey into the hell of grief and the actuality of Mexico's drug shame, this is a memorable book that has arrived out of the blue, and is all the more welcome for it.
A wild ride. Imagine the film Desperado scripted by Hunter S Thompson. Murder and corruption in Mexico; a journalist narrator with a death wish and a thirst for vengeance. Que chingados!
Intense, inventive and gritty.
A superb, realistic rollercoaster of a read from an incredible new talent.
A hilarious, gripping, poetic off-the-wall crime story set in a delirious Mexican underworld that William Burroughs, Sam Peckinpah & Hunter Thompson would have recognised. I loved it.
Imagine Narcos crossed with Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas crossed with Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye and you'll begin to have an idea of Tim MacGabhann's brilliant debut. A visceral, acid-soaked trip through Mexico's many underworlds, and a heartfelt testament to lost friendship, Call Him Mine pulls you in by the eyeballs, steals your wallet, tramples on your heartstrings, and somehow leaves you feeling uplifted and alive.
A tough and uncompromising debut - you'll be glad you read it.
Intoxicating and chilling.
Feverish, lyrical and gripping from beginning to end the Irish writer's crime novel is both a searing indictment of corruption and murder in Mexico and a darkly moving gay love story as reporter Andrew finds himself out of his depth and out of control as he investigates his lover Carlos's death.
This impressive read from the Irish writer is a gay love story set against the backdrop of gangland Mexico. Indeed, it does have everything, including murder, mayhem, and espionage as journalist Andrew tries to find out how his boyfriend Carlos met his demise.
This audacious and ingenious combination of hardcore reporting and genre fiction gives the clearest account and synthesis I've read anywhere of the staggering horror that has befallen contemporary Mexico. If a young journalist really were to investigate the murder in Mexico of another daring journo and justice warrior who was also his lover, this terrifying, riveting, emotionally wrenching narrative is a realistic account of how that might go. But Call Him Mine gives the reader more than that, because Macgabhann is a writer of gritty poetic genius. This is the wired fevered enthralling Mexico City I live in. This is the most beautiful writing about Mexico in an English-language novel since Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano.
Strong stuff... MacGabhann's blend of violent action and vivid, even lyrical description is laced with dark humour and is very readable.
This gritty crime novel set in Mexico follows reporter Andrew as he investigates the murder of his own boyfriend. Brilliantly plotted, with a strong sense of the vibrant and violent setting, Call Him Mine is a must-read for those who were glued to Narcos and Sicario.