Monday, December 26, 2011


In recent days, a number of reviewers have turned their attention to EL GAVILAN (officially released about a week ago yesterday):

The New York Journal of Books says, "Craig McDonald uses his skills to write a drama that demands the reader pay attention, if a character has a Latino or Anglo name, the reader can’t make assumptions about where the character’s sympathies lie. His descriptions of the town and the characters are that vivid.”

The Huntington News calls EL GAVILAN: "A nuanced crime thriller," and notes, "It's difficult to find a good book that explores the tensions in the nation's heartland fueled by both legal and illegal immigration, but I think Craig McDonald has aced it in 'El Gavilan.'"

From Shelf-Awareness: "McDonald smudges the lines between right and wrong, leaving readers with potentially conflicting feelings about the characters. It's this conflict that makes 'El Gavilan' so irresistible: love or hate the characters, you can't help but invest in them. The story draws further power from McDonald's descriptive skills, as the sights, sounds and even the smells of his fictitious Ohio town reach from the pages and pull the reader in. 'El Gavilan' proves that Craig McDonald is as capable working in the contemporary thriller as he is with historicals."

And from Technorati: "McDonald explores values, attitudes, emotion, ethics, relationships, and the nature of intolerance in a satisfying, thought-provoking novel. Well-developed characters with unsteady moral compasses populate the pages of 'El Gavilan,' giving the reader much to consider and reconsider."


Here’s something quite a bit different: I’m offering a chance to win a major chunk of handwritten writing—a legal pad full of the opening pages of my new standalone novel EL GAVILAN—as I originally penned them.

What you’ll get is a fragment of the idea for the novel as jotted down when inspiration first hit—call it an impulsive mission statement—then about seven chapters’ worth of first pages…first glimpses of characters Tell Lyon, Able Hawk…a first take on the opening pages of the book.

This is truly first pass stuff. I tend to write longhand, then key in the material, revising as I go along. If you, lucky winner, detect breaks in the continuity in the legal pad, that’s a result of me toggling over to write first draft on the computer—something I tend to do more with dialogue heavy scenes.

Now, as originally announced via my newsletter, to win this item, contestants were asked to answer a trivia question related to the book. Unfortunately, jiffy “Look Inside the Book” posting by Amazon made that a far too easy affair.

Also, book availability got a little crazy with some copies getting out far in advance of today’s Dec. 18 official release date.

So I’m changing the contest conditions just a bit, and the deadline for entry.

Want a chance to win some raw EL GAVILAN? Just drop me a note via craig @ (Delete the spaces on either side of that @, of course; or contact me here.) Subject line: EL GAVILAN CONTEST.

Then, briefly, say what you’d be more interested in reading next: Another standalone, or number five in the ongoing Hector Lassiter series. Also tell how you purchased your last book written by me—was it a bound copy, or an eBook?

(If you already submitted an answer to the trivia contest, no worries; I've got your entry and you're still in the running.)

That’s all it takes for a chance to win.

On New Year’s Eve, I’ll gather all the submissions in a hat, and a name will be drawn. The winner will be announced in this space New Year’s Day and contacted for mailing information.

In addition to getting the legal pad, you’ll also get a finished, signed copy of the novel containing the polished prose only you will have access to in my own block-letter scrawl.