Sobel Weber Associates, Inc.

James Carlos Blake

  • The Rules of Wolfe
  • (Grove, July 2013)
  • by James Carlos Blake
  • Rivages: France
    Grove/Atlantic: U.K.

  • The young renegade scion of a powerful Texas crime family goes to work for a Mexican cartel, but when he kills a prominent gang leader, he becomes the quarry in a deadly manhunt. A heart-stopping thriller by a masterful, award-winning author. 

    Following is the author’s letter, sent with the original manuscript. 

    Dear Nathaniel -- 

    I attach the manuscript of my new novel, THE RULES OF WOLFE. It's about a young American named Eddie Gato Wolfe, who gets in very serious trouble with a crime boss in Mexico. Accompanied by a gangster's girl named Miranda, Eddie has to make a run for the Arizona border -- and cross the desert on foot -- with a legion of cartel gunmen in pursuit of him for the price on his head. Intertwined with this suspenseful and violent three-day chase is the background story of Eddie Wolfe's estrangement from his family, a wealthy South Texas criminal clan. The book is structured in three parts. The first and last parts deal almost exclusively with the chase. The shorter middle section presents the background of Eddie's conflict with his family, plus introduces the ancient matriarch Catalina, and Rudy and Frankie Wolfe, Eddie's uncles, whom she dispatches to Mexico to try to help him. 

    I intend THE RULES OF WOLFE as the first book of a crime series that differs from all others chiefly by dint of featuring afamily -- rather than a particular individual -- as the recurrent character. Each book will have a different Wolfe as the protagonist, though of course many of the same members of the family will show up in every book. Eddie Gato Wolfe, for instance, will reappear in the next book, though he will not be the central character in it. Bear in mind, too, that in addition to the Texas Wolfes, there is a family branch (alluded to in this novel) in Mexico City, a cartel of its own called the Jaguaros. The range of story possibilities in the series is limitless, and because the series centers on a group rather than an individual, there is far less risk of formulaic repetitiveness, one of the main reader criticisms of crime series books. 

    What I've never liked about crime-series novels is that, even before you open the book, you know the main character will still be alive at the end. That's always struck me as rank bullshit. Clearly, however, many readers like the "comfort" of that assurance. In my series, you'll never know until the end of a book if the main character will survive, but even if he doesn't, the reader will still have the assurance of knowing the family is still there to provide another interesting Wolfe for the next story. 

    The next book, by the way, is tentatively titled CHARLIE FORTUNE WOLFE, after the main character, whom we meet in THE RULES OF WOLFE. The book after that will feature a Wolfe woman as the protagonist. 

    Tu hermano, 
    James Carlos

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