Buried in debt due to his young daughter's illness, his marriage at the brink, Mario reluctantly takes a job as a hitman, surprising himself with his proclivity for violence. After tragedy destroys the life he knew, Mario agrees to one final job: hijack a cartel's cash shipment before it reaches Mexico. Along with an old friend and a cartel-insider named Juanca, Mario sets off on the near-suicidal mission, which will leave him with either a cool $200,000 or a bullet in the skull. But the path to reward or ruin is never as straight as it seems. As the three complicated men travel through the endless landscape of Texas, across the border and back, their hidden motivations are laid bare alongside nightmarish encounters that defy explanation. One thing is certain: even if Mario makes it out alive, he won't return the same.
... riveting ... a barrio noir that invites readers to consider the depths of darkness in this world, its material effects, and the cycles of violence we both willingly and perforce enter into ... written in both English and Spanish — the former outweighs the latter, and any Spanish dialogue too important to the plot or mood is translated — and takes readers on a journey to hell and back. Whether hell is the American racism, the Mexican cartel industry, Mario's grief and increasing comfort with violence, or all of the above, it works ... The mix of religious, superstitious, and supernatural elements add a dimension to the novel that heightens its horror, but also its social commentary ... may not be a cheerful book, but it still allows glimpses of love, moments of connection, and glimmers of beauty to exist. Even if those can't save us, they point toward what, with some effort and luck, just might.
Spellbinding ... The novel's interweaving of fantastical elements with sudden and savage violence will leave unwary readers stunned ... Iglesias does masterful work with Mario's internal narration as he puzzles over which of his partners poses the greatest potential threat. Much of the novel switches back and forth between Spanish and English, and both languages are integral to the story, making them all the more worthwhile to comprehend ... The world of The Devil Takes You Home is harsh and unforgiving, its desert the most treacherous terrain. Iglesias does such a place justice in his brawny, serpentine and remarkably poignant novel.
This novel is so gritty that you’ll feel like washing your hands after you’ve read it; so brutal you’ll feel like you’ve been punched in the face. It is uncompromisingly, relentlessly, stomach-clenchingly disturbing. Not for every reader, to be sure, but a must for those unafraid of visiting the dark side, it’s brilliantly conceived and executed, a novel that proves again what Iglesias’ fans have known all along: he is a storyteller unafraid of exploring the shadowed corners of his characters and their world.