Roxanne Conrad specializes in complex, emotionally hard-edged novels that also include a touch of the paranormal. This novel is filled with damaged individuals struggling to find purpose in their lives.

Four years ago, Pete Ross saved the life of illegal immigrant Esmerelda Sanchez as she lay dying in the desert. Unfortunately, it was too late for her six year old son Jamie. The circumstances that brought Esmerelda to the desert lead Pete to join the U.S. Border Patrol. That decision turns out to be the final blow to his marriage. For his ex-wife Dr. Ana Gutierrez, Petes career places him in the enemy camp. As the Doctor for a free clinic in El Paso, Ana fights against poverty and prejudice. Their worlds will collide again due to the plot of a revolutionary madman.

In the years since he saved her, Pete has come to love Esmerelda. Since Jamies death, Esmerelda has become a spiritual healer who regularly communicates with the spirit of her son. It was Jamie who first diagnosed the cancer that infected Petes brain. But with Esmereldas healing touch, the cancer has gone into remission.

Ramon Cruz is determined to bring revolution to El Paso. When Ana is coerced into helping Ramon, she has no idea of the devastation that will follow. Ramon and his Sons of Aztlan blow up the Border Patrol station in El Paso, killing many. By pure luck, Pete is saved. Through Jamie, Esmerelda learns that this is only the beginning, and unless they can find a way to stop Ramon, a deadly carnage will ensue.

(Nov., 352 pp., $6.50)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith