Manolo “Mano” Suarez is a third generation Mexican American and patriotic former U.S. soldier who barely speaks Spanish. Unemployed in Los Angeles with a wife and three kids to support, Mano pays little attention to the civil and political unrest that erupts due to an accidental police shooting of a young Latina bystander during a drug bust, but when the situation snowballs into rioting and more deaths, he must protect his family.
As Latinos of all types; citizens and undocumented immigrants, white black and brown, rich and poor, are all put on lock down in official “Quarantine Zones” or shipped off to internment camps, Mano is drawn into the fight and forced to choose a side in the United States/Latino civil war.
The author, Raul Ramos y Sanchez, paints a frighteningly plausible future. America Libre is set in the near future, and reads at times like non-fiction. It is a reminder of the dangers of extremism on both sides of the fence, as well as a warning for those who would like to sweep the immigration debate under the rug.
I admire Ramos Y Sanchez for the obvious effort and research that was done in writing this novel. His knowledge of history, military and politics is evident by the plausible plot and realistic story telling. I can certainly imagine America Libre as an action film with a message, along the lines of Crash. (I’m “officially” recommending actor Ricardo Chavira for the part of Mano, Cameron Diaz for the part of Jo Herrera, and Paz Vega for the part of Mano’s wife… I have the entire movie cast in my head already! This book is begging to be be a screenplay.)
America Libre is available July 29, 2009. Ramos y Sanchez intends for this to be a trilogy which will include two more titles – El Nuevo Alamo (due out in 2010), and Pancho Land.