I’m going to be completely honest with you guys here, Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias has produced the most challenging review I have written to date. What I felt while reading this novel was so overwhelming at times, that I found myself completely forgetting that I was trying to write about a novel, a piece of fiction, instead of the world we currently live in. I kept getting lost in tangents of thought that stemmed from ideas in the book and snow-balled into much larger issues.
Now, don’t let me mislead you already, I adored this book! Set in the American Southwest, La Frontera, we are introduced to six storylines whose characters all share a few things in common. While this is a novel, I felt as if I were reading six separate short stories that all displayed varying degrees of anger, revenge, despair, and loss.
While a lot of us can agree that person on person crimes are often the most terrifying, Iglesias takes this a step further and has created his own genre of horror. Of course, home invasions are terrifying, they can happen to anyone, anywhere right? Domestic thrillers are chilling for the same reason. What makes the subject matter in this novel horror, for me, is that what the author writes about is currently happening.
I considered cutting this review in half and simply omitting many of the topics that this novel made me spend a lot of time thinking about. However, my job as a reviewer is to relay back to you, reader, my thoughts, feelings, and experiences with this book. Remember those tangents I mentioned earlier? Here is one of them…
While Coyote Songs does not explicitly immerse you in politically heavy fiction, it is full of political and social issues that deserve far more attention than they get. The author does a wonderful job of throwing these issues in your face without it feeling like propaganda. Some of the contents in the stories were hard for me to stomach because this stuff happens far too often. The characters in this novel deliver the same message, either in the form of an angry God or a gun; some crimes are unforgivable. Some issues are black and white. There is a right and a wrong. No amount of political or legal jargon should be able to make you see gray.
I want to say “this opened my eyes to a different facet of this culture” but it feels too generic for this book, even if it may be true. Instead, I will say that Iglesias is going to tell you a story that you think you may already know but trust me, you do not. He is going to put a spin on it by handing it to you through a set of eyes you have never considered. Have you ever thought about how the Coyote feels about child trafficking? I sure as hell haven’t.
This book resonated with me far more than any horror novel I have read in a long time. While it was entertaining and at times creepy as hell, it has stuck with me since I finished it. Do you know how every social circle has that one person that always commits conversation suicide by bringing up politics? Hello, my name is Keely and I am that person. This novel allowed me to let that politically opinionated version of myself out for a bit without driving anyone else insane or pissing anyone off.
I would recommend Coyote Songs to absolutely every horror fan or anyone that is drawn to fiction that will make you feel just about everything except for warm and fuzzy. Just read it, soon. Before la Virgencita rains down on your ass in a storm of holy bullets.
You can find Keely on social media @keelyfuse85