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  HOME | Arts & Entertainment

Mexican Writer Says It’s Getting Hard to Surprise His Readers

MEXICO CITY – Though at the beginning of the novel “Asesinato en el Parque Sinaloa” (Murder in Sinaloa Park), police officer Edgar “El Zurdo” Mendieta has decided to retire, the book’s author Elmer Mendoza says the well-known character still has many a case to solve, but that he himself finds it harder and harder to feel the moves and motivations of his characters.

“That could be what finally makes me drop El Zurdo (Lefty), because I won’t find enough elements to surprise my readers,” the Mexican author told EFE in an interview.

In his new El Zurdo thriller – the fourth – the police officer decides to come out of retirement to solve one final case: discovering who murdered the son of his former mentor when he was a rookie cop.

Mendoza, 67, noted that he plays a kind of “game” with his readers, who not only love his police procedurals but also the surprises he keeps up his sleeve.

However, almost a decade after the saga began with “Balas de Plata” (Silver Bullets), published in 2008 and winner of the Tusquets Prize, he says “it’s not easy” to find those twists and turns of the plot, nor to “change the angles” from which he relates a novel.

“I ask all the authors of police procedural novels how many books a saga can have, but there’s no answer,” the writer said, adding that sometimes readers faced with a possible end to the El Zurdo saga, plead: “Don’t let it happen!”

One of the sub-plots of “Asesinato en el Parque Sinaloa” revolves around a curious situation, that of a cartel kingpin who escapes from prison through a tunnel and becomes obsessed with a glamorous radio star who plans to do a radio novela about his life.

A plot that closely coincides with the true story of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and actress Kate del Castillo, whose association came to light soon after the capture of the cartel kingpin of Sinaloa, the place where the novel takes place.

In that regard, Mendoza said he is not one of those writers that before starting a work makes “a complete outline, a basic guide” that they try not to wander from, because they consider the novel should remain, speaking metaphorically, like a “perfect sphere.”

“It really hit me when we learned of that affaire (of El Chapo and Del Castillo), and I said, my God, what’s this?” he joked, and asked with a laugh whether some hackers had stolen his still unfinished novel.

He went on to say that in the universe of big drug traffickers, there are “always” such romances going on because “a certain type of reckless man exists that attracts an enormous number of women,” as also occurs with bullfighters.

Mendoza, who has been called “the father of narco-literature,” hails the fact that today’s police procedural writers in Mexico have “given genuine status to the genre.”


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