Sunday, December 18, 2011


My first standalone novel, EL GAVILAN, officially releases today. (That means it is also officially available for download for Kindle and Nook and other eReaders.)

It goes out into the world in a book buying market that remains uncertain and tumultuous. My sincere thanks to those who have already read and ordered the novel, or are considering doing so.

(A request, also, to any who have taken the time and effort to review EL GAVILAN to please consider cross-posting those reviews to online book selling venues. It's become increasingly clear such reviews, up or down, do have a profound influence on book buying decisions, even by those who ultimately purchase from independent, bricks-and-mortar booksellers).

A synopsis and some review clips from EL GAVILAN follow:


The news is full of it: escalating tensions from illegal immigration, headless bodies hanging off bridges and bounties placed on lawmen on both sides of the border.

New Austin, Ohio is a town grappling with waves of undocumented workers exerting pressure on schools, police and city services. In the midst of the turmoil, three very different kinds of cops scramble to maintain control and impose order.

Police Chief Tell Lyon is a hurting man: a former California Border Patrol commander whose family was brutally murdered by a vengeful gang of smugglers. Tell has fled the desert and returned to the heartland to be New Austin's chief of police. He's arrived expecting a Mayberry-like experience, but soon learns "the border is now everywhere."

Conservative hard-liner Sheriff Able Hawk takes a direct approach. Hawk stages mass arrests, posts inflammatory blog entries and bills back the Federal government his costs for jailing illegal immigrants who have nicknamed him El Gavilan.

Walt Pierce is sheriff of neighboring Vale County. Walt has a storied history and long rivalry with Able Hawk. Pierce, a vindictive, closed-minded man and a dangerous enemy, takes an immediate dislike to Tell Lyon.

The rape-murder of a Mexican-American woman triggers a brutal chain of events that threatens to leave no survivors.

El Gavilan is a novel of shifting alliances and whiplash switchbacks. Families are divided and careers and lives threatened. Friendships and ideals are tested and budding love affairs challenged.

With its topical themes, shades-of-gray characters and dark canvas, El Gavilan is a novel for our charged times.


"Searing. Sobering and as urgent as tomorrow's headlines. McDonald deftly...dissects one of America's most tormenting social problems."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"An addictive read."
—Library Journal

"Everything you'd hope to get from a modern day master stretching his impressive-as-all-hell wings."
—Spinetingler Magazine

"A fascinating thriller...highly recommended."
—The Drowning Machine

"A thoroughly gripping crime story."
—Mystery Scene

—Suspense Magazine

"A major step forward for [McDonald's] already formidable breadth and range."
—Barnes & Noble Book Club

IndieBound (Hardcover)
IndieBound (Paperback)
Amazon (Hardcover)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Hardcover)
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Books-A-Million (Hardcover)
Books-A-Million (Paperback)

• El Gavilan at My Book, the Movie.

• El Gavilan: The Page 69 Test.

• Writer's Read: Craig shares thoughts about recent reads.

• J. Kingston Pierce interviews Craig at Kirkus Reviews & The Rap Sheet.

• Guest blog at Spinetingler regarding El Gavilan/Hector Lassiter secret connections.

• A free short story drawn featuring a character from the novel here.

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