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Books of the Week Review: Triple play

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Three Albuquerque area writers — novelists Rudy Miera and Joseph Badal and poet Bonnie K. Rucobo — have new books out on diverse subjects.

Miera’s novel is “After Hours in Aztlán.”

“The first half of the novel is set in Albuquerque and then it turns into a road trip,” he said. “Basically it’s the story of seven college friends who attend the University of New Mexico. They want to promote an alliance between students and campus workers. In doing so, they create an underground newspaper, but it doesn’t succeed the way they had hoped it would.”

They see a news report of a movie being made in Juarez, a Spanish version of “Romeo and Juliet.” They crash the set and want to turn it into a film about their dream of a student-worker alliance.

“They have many adventures and misadventures between Albuquerque and Juarez,” Miera said. “Friendship and optimism triumph over inaction and alienation.”

Set in the late 1970s and early ’80s, the story, Miera said, had taken many literary iterations. It started out as a poem, then transformed into a short story, then a screenplay. Finally, he decided to make it a novel, adding protagonists and antagonists along the way.

His previous novel was “The Fall and Rise of Champagne Sanchez.” Miera will discuss and sign “After Hours at Aztlán” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24 at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW.

“Justice,” the third volume in Joseph Badal’s thriller series “The Curtis Chronicles,” takes readers to Central America.

Americans Matt and Renee Curtis are in Costa Rica with friends Esteban and Alani Maldonado when arch-enemy Lonnie Jackson kidnaps Renee and Alani. Jackson hauls them to neighboring Nicaragua where he runs an international human trafficking ring and sells them into sexual slavery.

“The climax is all about Matt, who aligns with retired U.S. special ops people in Costa Rica and mounts a mission to rescue the women,” Badal said.

“Intermixed is Jackson’s contact for recruiting women for the ring, a mafioso in Bulgaria, who is also an informant for the CIA,” Badal continued.

Badal reads from and signs “Justice” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at Treasure House Books & Gifts, 2012 S. Plaza NW, Old Town Plaza.

Bonnie K. Rucobo wrote the poetry and Francesca Searer created the illustrations for the book “Word Sculptures in the Albuquerque Museum Sculpture Garden.”

Searer’s ink-and-wash illustrations accompany 12 of Rucobo’s 20 poems. Unfortunately, Rucobo’s poems hardly go beyond basic “ekphrastic”, Greek for descriptive, writing. Rucobo’s poems could have interpreted what is going on in the sculptures. Example: John Keats’ famous poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn” considers the relationship between art, beauty and truth.

Rucobo sees Searer’s illustrations as a form of ekphrastic expression. Rucobo has served as a museum and sculpture garden docent at the Albuquerque Museum.

Robert Woltman’s highly informative 2003 essay “Poetry and the Second Life of Art: A Gallery of Five Ekphrastic Poems” raised the book out of the ordinary.

Bonnie K. Rucobo discusses, signs “Word Sculptures in the Albuquerque Museum Sculpture Garden” at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW.