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Samuel Parker captivated readers with his brisk, raw style of writing in both Purgatory Road and Coldwater. Now he offers readers a haunting tale of a father and son, rescue and destruction, and the high cost of second chances in his new book Border Son.

It has been years since Edward Kazmierski has had contact with his wayward son. The last place he knew Tyler to be was in an El Paso jail six years ago. Then, in one day, he receives a cryptic phone call telling him that his son needs him in Mexico, another from a federal agent searching for Tyler, and a visit from two men he hopes to never see again.

One impulsive act has set a dangerous chain of events into motion, which will almost certainly lead to death—for Tyler and anyone else trying to help him. Edward reluctantly agrees to cross the Mexican border to rescue his estranged son, who is mixed up in the drug trade. But it will take everything they have to tear down the wall that has been built up between them and to make it back alive.

With insight and artistry, Samuel Parker brings the dusty and dangerous streets of a Mexican border town into sharp focus in this suspenseful reimagining of the Prodigal Son story—which explores the true nature of redemption and forgiveness.

Q&A and Excerpt from Samuel Parker’s Border Son

Border Son is your third novel. Tell us how this book differs from your first two novels, Purgatory Road and Coldwater.

Border Son is different in that it does not have a supernatural element. It is a straight-to-the-point, flesh-and-bone thriller.

How did you come up with the plot for your novel?

I was kicking around the idea of wanting to do a story set in Juarez, and then the movie Sicario came out, which was brilliant. So I shelved the idea for a few years because you simply can’t compete with Taylor Sheridan. Ha! Then, I came back to it and thought it would be a good setting to tell a version of the Prodigal Son.

You did some very interesting research when writing Border Son. Can you please tell us what your research entailed?

I spent some time in El Paso doing research, but it was a short jaunt over to Columbus, New Mexico, and then a walk into Puerto Palomas, Mexico, that sealed the deal for the setting. The desert fascinates me to no end, so getting out and walking amongst the rock and the dust is what gets my mind going.

Library Journal stated that fans of Stephen King and Dean Koontz will enjoy your style of writing. Do you agree with this statement and how would you characterize your writing?

I heard another reader say my style reminds them of old Dean Koontz, so that seems to be a theme. I like stripped-down storytelling, no filler. Get to the tale and throw everything else out. In the way that this mirrors King and Koontz, I would agree.

Some of the issues that you touch upon in your book are covered frequently in the news. Did you take this into account when writing Border Son?

I follow several reporters and writers who know exponentially more about our southern border than I will ever know. I am fascinated by the area, the environment, and the people. I wanted to write a story set in that part of the country but was hesitant for several reasons. Retelling the Prodigal Son story was a way I thought I could slip into the environment.

Do you have a character that you really resonate with?

I have several, but I really found myself resonating with Roberto Ibanez in this story. He started off as a side character, but I would argue that this book is as much about him as anyone else in the story.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading your novel?

I hope readers walk away from my novel thinking about how we treat people and our duty to love people, even when it’s not in our best interest to do so.

Read an exclusive excerpt from Border Son here.

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Samuel Parker is the author of Purgatory Road, named one of Library Journal’s Best Books of 2017, and Coldwater. Born in Michigan, he was raised on a never-ending road trip through the US.

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