Crossing Borders: An Eddie DeSilva Mystery
Xlibris Corporation (2010)
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (09/10)
There are books that grab you from the first sentence and there are others that never seem to quite connect. Usually I make up my mind pretty quickly. If the first couple of pages fail to ignite a spark, chances are I’ll never finish that book. “Crossing Borders” by Richard Hicks was an exception. The first few pages, actually the entire first chapter, read like Chinese. I have no knowledge – and even less interest – in anything naval, maritime or sailing-related, so in spite of the tense situation I was bored stiff. Luckily I did not give up. The moment the book’s hero, retired police chief Eddie DeSilva, got back on land, the story hit the ground running – and it never stopped. This was one of those one-night reads, where the story is simply too good to put down and the writing downright mesmerizing.
Eddie DeSilva’s life needs a new direction. Recently retired and recently widowed, he has spent some time sailing, but now he is ready to return to San Diego and contemplate his future. Should he run for mayor? Should he simply enjoy his retirement, although it was not quite voluntary? How about his private life? Is he ready to start dating again? Maybe he should just devote himself to being a grandfather, since his daughter is about to give birth to his first grandchild. On his way back he runs into a bad storm and nearly loses his life, but a stowaway hidden on his boat saves his life. Feeling indebted to him, DeSilva is quickly given a chance to return the favor – his rescuer is arrested for the murder of his wife, yet he claims he did not commit it. Before DeSilva could reach any real conclusion, violence erupts again and everything changes in an instant. DeSilva is adamant in his quest for the truth, but this same quest might well cost him his own life.
Mr. Hicks writes with a wonderful fluidity and after the first chapter the story grabbed my attention firmly and kept it focused until the very last page. It was contemporary and relevant, dealing with many important issues, such as immigration, trafficking, crime, domestic violence, autistic disorders and politics. Although intricate, the storyline never gets overly convoluted or confusing, and even the side stories stand on a firm foundation. The characters are sharply drawn, very grounded, very believable and charmingly quirky. I felt truly curious about what happens next, and I hope the see another Eddie DeSilva mystery published soon, preferably involving Pauline Graham as well. This was a very satisfying mystery and I would highly recommend it to those readers who enjoy a well crafted story.