Dr Matt Dorgan felt there was something wrong with the baby even before it was born. He detected an abnormal foetal heart rate and when the baby boy arrived he just didn't look right. Little Calvin was born with profound cerebral palsy. His depressed mother has fantasies of killing him. His father, Junior Shiflett, a small-time drug dealer with an attitude, sees an opportunity to improve his life-style. Somebody is going to pay for the family's pain and suffering. Ben Daitz's first novel is situated at the intersection between the best of intentions and the worst of consequences, between upward and downward mobility, between good medicine and bad mojo. Daitz, a physician who has worked in New Mexico for many years, knows the kinds of trouble people can get into, and he shows us a world of double-dealing and heart-break, from the hustle of Albuquerque to the seedy charm of Mogote an hour to the south, from doctors to lawyers to cops to dope dealers to fishing in the glorious streams of the mountains. This is a serious novel suffused with humour, uniting the diverse strands of life in the modern Southwest in a way that will remind readers of John Nichols.
Ben Daitz MD is professor in the department of family, community, and emergency medicine at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. He is also a distinguished documentary filmmaker, an accomplished fiddle player, and a regular contributor to the science section of The New York Times.