...a fluent, mordant, authentic, propulsive narrative, wonderfully lit from within by an intriguing main character ... This is his first novel and it left me hoping he writes many more ... the Texas of the novel is also familiar because it’s at a tectonic moment, on the cusp between old and new, that has been written about before, and very well. Kennedy rises to the challenge and succeeds so well that both Larry McMurtry and James Lee Burke have offered their praise.
I've often wondered about those squat cinderblock buildings situated next to broadcast towers that seem to reach into the sky for miles. Why are they there? What's inside? Who enters them? What secrets do they hold? Texas-born author Randy Kennedy must have spent considerable time speculating about the same thing. He conjures up an answer in his...first novel, Presidio: It's where you go to live when your wife has run off with all your money, the old family home has been repossessed and you have no other options ... it's to Kennedy's credit as a first-time novelist that he avoids sentimentality. His characters are flesh-and-blood real people. It's also to his credit that he avoids rendering them as chicken-fried clichés slavered with cream gravy.
Itinerant car thief Troy Falconer has little need of possessions, yet his rootless existence consists of stealing clothes out of the seedy Texas motel rooms of similarly sized men before absconding in the victim’s car. When Troy and his reticent, bighearted brother, Harlan, set out on an ill-fated car trip across the Panhandle in late 1972, hoping to locate Harlan’s scheming wife, who has skipped town with his life savings, they inadvertently kidnap an 11-year-old Mennonite girl who is in the back of the stolen station wagon ... This deceptively polished confessional imbues the three-dimensional characters with humor, cynicism, and considerable pathos in artful contrast to the moonlike landscape of West Texas.