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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Americans have an endless fascination with ruthless men and stoic loners dispensing frontier justice. Our films are replete with such depictions, from Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch to the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men. We revel in the vicarious adrenaline rush from the comfort of our reclining chairs, Coke in one hand, popcorn in the other.
But travel writer Grant wanted more. An inveterate adventure seeker, he developed an "unfortunate fascination" with the Sierra Madre, the last of the wild frontier where the rule of law has never quite taken hold. Just south of the border, 900 miles long, with peaks reaching 11,000 feet and canyons deeper than the Grand, the Sierra Madre is home to bandits and drug smugglers. Marijuana is the biggest cash crop, and murder is the local pastime.
Grant's travels there are endlessly harrowing and often hilarious. He describes the unusual sexual appetites of narcotraficantes; the experience of towing a two-ton truck up a mountain at gunpoint; a search for an old bandit's lost treasure; and a frightening version of "The Most Dangerous Game" with cocaine-fueled Mexican hillbillies. Grant may have left his common sense behind, but thankfully his eyes are wide open, so we, comfortable in our armchairs -- but with him in spirit -- can relish every hair-raising moment. (Summer 2008 Selection)