Andrew, grieving and jittery on a diet of coffee and LSD, sets off on a quest for answers that leads him into a web of corruption stretching all the way to the boardrooms of America. Strong stuff, but MacGabhann’s blend of violent action and vivid, even lyrical description is laced with dark humour and is very readable.
In a didactic section at the end of the book, MacGabhann explains the genesis of his novel: “In Mexico, there’s a strong tradition of the crónica, a hybrid form that owes its subject matter to reportage, its questioning of objectivity to autobiography, and just about everything else to fiction.”
Yet in his narrative as a whole, there is little of the immediacy and panache so integral to the gonzo style. In him Call Him Mine, the dizzying amounts of fear and loathing fall flat on the page.
Tim MacGabhann’s debut novel is intoxicating and chilling, as it leads the reader deep into the criminal underworld of Mexico with little hope of a safe return. At its heart is the relationship between Andrew, a journalist, and Carlos, a photographer. MacGabhann leavens his narrative with unexpected bursts of surreal humour, but this is grim fare indeed.