southwest book review

Nearly every day here in the Southwest, we hear tragic stories of human trafficking across the U.S. Mexico border: The lengths people will go to in hopes of a better life in America; paying coyotes large sums of money to hide in vehicles, or hike across the desert. Many don’t make it. That is the storyline of John Vailant’s novel, "The Jaguar’s Children," this month’s Southwest Book Review. In the words of commentator Mary Sojourner, the story tore her heart out.  

Love, physics and the atomic bomb come together in this month’s Southwest Book Review of Nora Gallagher’s novel, Changing Light. The setting is Los Alamos, New Mexico, 1945; the tail end of World War II and the debut of the atomic bomb. Two characters haphazardly find each other: one love sick and one radiation sick. Their bond takes them into passionate—and dangerous—territory. KNAU’s Mary Sojourner has more.


The late Flagstaff poet Jim Simmerman was a brilliant, lonely writer. His work was prolific and award winning. But, in 2006, plagued by demons and health problems, Simmerman took his own life. Now, a new tribute book to the author has been released. The Blood and the Bone and the Flesh of it All, by James Jay and Miles Waggoner, is a collection of writings and letters by Simmerman, his friends and students. In KNAU's latest Southwest Book Review, Mary Sojourner finds beauty in the sadness. 


A life of crime starts early for young Willy Bobbins, the main character in Lee Barnes latest novel, The Gambler's Apprentice. At the start of World War I, 16-year-old Willy falls into cattle thieving and violence...not because he wants to, but because he has to in order to survive. His grit is what attracted KNAU's Mary Sojourner, as she explains in her latest Southwest Book Review. 

KNAU's Southwest Book reviewer, Mary Sojourner, has lived in the desert for decades. She thought she knew all about it. She thought she'd memorized its sunsets, people and nuances. But then she read Cowboys and East Indians, by Nina McConigley. That's when Sojourner realized she'd been looking at the desert southwest through a very narrow lens, as she reveals in this month's book review. 


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