Some Clouds – Paco Ignacio Taibo II

July 24, 2017

Famed author Paco Ignacio Taibo II has produced another thrilling tale of murder, intrigue, and corruption in Some Clouds, published by Penguin Group, copyright 1992.


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On a peaceful day on the coast Hector sits in the shade of a palm tree that he has been contemplating while he sips his beer and tries to forget the events that he was caught up in just months ago.  Hector Balascoaran Shayne had been to engineering school but the thought of sitting behind a desk for the rest of his life designing bridges and sewer systems didn’t appeal to him.  He decided on something more exciting and started a private investigation business.  On one of his investigations, Hector got involved in a gun battle with a man who was trying to kill him.  He had to shoot the man dead, which didn’t bother him much, but a stray bullet had struck an eight year old boy and left him crippled for life with mental disabilities that reduced the poor boy to a vegetable.  Not knowing whose bullet had caused this terrible tragedy, Hector took himself to a beach near San Miguel Chepultepec and had been there for over six months, drinking beer and staring at a palm tree.  The local palama bar is playing Sinaloa, which is a bolero piece of music written by Manzanero Polananco.  It is his favorite and he is, for once, content.


Then at once his peaceful retreat is disturbed by the sound of a motorcycle engine that he recognizes immediately as he sister Elisa’s.  Hector knew immediately that his vacation from the world and his troubles had come to an end.  After a short week enjoying the beach and drinking beers together, Hector finally turns to his sister and asks Elisa, “Why have you really come to see me?”  The question doesn’t surprise her as much as how long he took to ask it.  Elisa signals the barman, known as La Estrellita, to bring them four more beers.  The story Elisa tells is about a friend of hers, whom they both remember from childhood, named Anita.

Anita had married one of the three brothers in the Costa family, whose father was extremely wealthy through the furniture business, or so he claims.  Anita and her husband went out of Mexico to the U.S. to attend a medical school in the city of New York.  While in New York, the father died and left a huge sum of money and furniture stores to his sons, which amounted to many millions.

After attending the funeral, they returned to the U.S. and soon found out that one of the brothers had been shot and killed in his home, and the other brother who had seen it happen could no longer speak from the shock of what he had witnessed.  They prepared for another trip to Mexico’s Guadalajara Airport and after stepping out for some last minute shopping, Anita returns to find the last brother, her husband, stabbed to death and papers on the table that would sign the entire fortune over to someone named Arturo Melgar, who Hector had known in college and remembers that everyone called him “The Rat.”  Arturo Melgar is known to be a hired collector and hit man for Mr. Saavendra, a well-known major importer of illegal drugs on the coast of Mexico.  Saavedra is suspected of influencing government officials and handing out envelopes full of cash to the police.

It is not long after Anita returns to Mexico that two men beat and rape her, forcing her to sign the papers that relinquish her new fortune to the man known as Saavedra.  Hector at this point decides to do what he can to help his sister’s friend Anita out of all the trouble she has found herself in.

Paco Ignatio Taibo II, in this fine novel, gives us a look into the corruption, personalities, manner of speech, and the lives of the people of Mexico.

Literally, Paul.

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