In the first pages of Trounce, George Beck grabs hold of the reader’s heartstrings and doesn’t let go. His gift for kick-starting a story is matched only by his skill at crafting strong, utterly believable characters with a few deft strokes. The narrative begins with a young man named Emilio crossing the US-Mexican border to find work to help pay for his mother’s costly medical treatments. What Emilio doesn’t realize, however, is that he’s about to find himself entangled in a web of lies, deceit, treachery, and (perhaps) romance. And when, on top of everything else, he uncovers a plot to bring Los Angeles to its knees, it’s already too late for the protagonist to untangle himself–he’s simply in too deep.
Throughout this fast-paced novel, Beck continually raises the ante by placing his hero in a series of increasingly dangerous situations. At the same time, however, it’s a story with heart, as evidenced both by Emilio’s desire to save his dying mother and the love story that emerges throughout the course of the novel. Throughout the proceedings, Beck weaves these and other strands together to create a thoroughly enjoyable narrative that’s a curious cross between El Norte and Don DeLillo’s Players.