PACO IGNACIO TAIBO II & SUBCOMMANDANTE MARCOS – The Uncomfortable Dead; Carlos Lopez, translator. Nominated for Best Private Eye Paperback Original of the Year, 2007.

Akashic Books, trade paperback, September 2006.

   Book Description:


In alternating chapters, Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos and the consistently excellent Paco Ignacio Taibo II create an uproarious murder mystery with two intersecting story lines.

The chapters written by the famously masked Marcos originate in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico. There, the fictional “Subcomandante Marcos” assigns Elias Contreras – an odd but charming mountain man – to travel to Mexico City in search of an elusive and hideous murderer named Morales.

The second story line, penned by Taibo, stars his famous series detective Hector Belascoarán Shayne. Hector guzzles Coca-Cola and smokes cigarettes furiously amidst his philosophical and always charming approach to investigating crimes-in this case, the search for his own “Morales.”

The two stories collide absurdly and dramatically in the urban sprawl of Mexico City. The ugly history of the city’s political violence rears its head, and both detectives find themselves in an unpredictable dance of death with forces at once criminal, historical, and political.

   About the Authors:

Paco Ignacio Taibo II is a Mexican historian and writer, the author of numerous crime novels and historical works (two of which won the Planeta Prize for Literature), and the founder of Semana Negra, the annual international crime writers’ congress in Spain. He lives in Mexico with his wife and daughter.

Subcomandante Marcos is a spokesperson and strategist for the Zapatistas, an indigenous insurgency movement based in Mexico. He first joined the indigenous guerrilla group which was to become the Zapatistas in the early 1980s. Marcos is author of several books, including Story of the Colors, which won a Firecracker Alternative Book Award, and Our Word is Our Weapon.

   Review excerpts:

Publishers Weekly: “Mexican crime writer Taibo and a real-life spokesperson for the Zapatista movement, Subcomandante Marcos, provide alternating chapters for this postmodern comedic mystery about good, evil and modern revolutionary politics. […] Taibo’s expertise ensures a smart, funny book, and Marcos brings a wry sense of humor. The authors mix mystery with metafiction: characters operate from beyond the grave or chat about the roles they play in the novel, and Marcos writes his fictional self into the story. Literary readers will nod and smile knowingly, though serious mystery devotees who prefer more grounded noir might be mildly annoyed by the hijinks.”

Booklist: “As one might expect, the political trumps the personal in this curious mix of crime novel and position paper, but it is just strange enough to attract a cult audience.”

   Previous Hector Belascoarán Shayne novels:   [English translations only.]

An Easy Thing. Viking, hardcover, 1990. Penguin, paperback, 1990. Poisoned Pen Press, trade paperback, 2002.

Some Clouds. Viking, hardcover, 1992. Penguin, paperback, 1993. Poisoned Pen Press, trade paperback, 2002.

No Happy Ending. Mysterious Press, hardcover, 1993. Warner, paperback, 1994. Poisoned Pen Press, trade paperback, 2003.

Return to the Same City. Mysterious Press, hardcover, 1996. Warner, paperback, 1997. Poisoned Pen Press, trade paperback, 2005.

Frontera Dreams. Cinco Puntos Press; trade paperback, July 2002.