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David Corbett David Corbett David Corbett David Corbett David Corbett David Corbett

Blood of Paradise

Blood of Paradise

"Poetic, romantic, hard-eyed and brutal..."
   —George Pelecanos

El Salvador: America's great Cold War success story and the model for Iraq's fledgling democracy—if one ignores the grinding poverty, the corruption, the spiraling crime and a murder rate ranked near the top in the hemisphere. This is where Jude McManus works as an executive protection specialist, currently assigned to an American engineer working for a U.S. consortium.

Ten years before, at age seventeen, he saw his father and two Chicago cop colleagues arrested for robbing street dealers. The family fell apart in the scandal's wake, his disgraced dad died under suspicious circumstances, and Jude fled Chicago to join the army and forge a new life.

Now the past returns when one of his father's old pals appears. The man is changed—he's scarred, regretful, self-aware—and helps Jude revisit the past with a forgiving eye. Then he asks a favor—not for himself, but the third member of his dad's old crew.

Even though it's ill-considered, Jude agrees, thinking he can oblige the request and walk away, unlike his father. But he underestimates the players and stakes, and stumbles into a web of Third World corruption and personal betrayal, where everything he values—and everyone he loves—is threatened. And only the greatest of sacrifices will save them.

Read an interview with David
Read the Author's Note
View work by Jeff Becom (the photographer whose image appears on the paperback cover)

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David's photos from El Salvador:



Blood of Paradise

"Oscar Wilde once quipped that the truth is rarely pure and never simple. Amen to that, says Blood of Paradise, David Corbett's powerful and deeply unsettling novel of Americans attempting to navigate the perilous waters of post-civil-war El Salvador. . . . Though Corbett's novel is as fast-paced as a political thriller and as blood-drenched as a Quentin Tarantino opus at its twisted best (or worst), his aspirations extend far beyond a place on this summer's beach reading list. In a concluding coda labeled 'Dossier,' the author writes that he drew several themes of the book from Sophocles' "Philoctetes," in which the son of Achilles is corrupted by a cunning Odysseus. And Blood of Paradise is a novel with a political viewpoint. The Dossier is subtitled 'From Troy to Baghdad [Via El Salvador].' To those Bush administration officials who have proposed that El Salvador's movement from armed struggle to elections can serve as a model for Iraq, Corbett's Central American tableau responds with 'God help us.' . . . The plot is complex, multilayered, at times vertiginous. . . . With all of that, the central character of this tale is the land in which it unfolds . . . Corbett writes knowingly and often lyrically of what El Salvador looks, sounds and feels like: its heat, its plants and animals, its foods, its beaches and lagunas. . . . There were times when character development defered to the hurtling plotline and political message. But that has also been true of John le Carre's more recent and ideologically loaded fiction, such as The Constant Gardener, or of Robert Stone's Damascus Gate. Yet I found those books riveting, and Blood of Paradise should feel at home in their company."
   —Dennis Riordan, San Francisco Chronicle

"This is, above all, a serious novel. Serious, of course, is not always good. Serious can be deadly dull. But seriousness, when combined with moral concern and novelistic talent, can produce outstanding fiction. A number of writers . . . provided advance praise for the novel, and some compared it to works by Graham Greene and Robert Stone that have also explored Americans caught up in troubling events in distant lands. The comparisons are apt. I would say of Blood of Paradise what I said of Done for a Dime: If you accept its politics, if you don't find it too dark or disturbing, it's an example of the best in contemporary crime fiction—or, if I may be so bold, in contemporary fiction, period."
   —Patrick Anderson, Washington Post

"Poetic, romantic, hard-eyed and brutal...Corbett, like Robert Stone and Graham Greene before him, is crafting important, immensely thrilling books. Blood of Paradise is his best to date."
   —George Pelecanos, author of The Night Gardener

"This big, brawny novel runs on full throttle from first to last page. Brutal and heartrending, eloquent and important, this is a fully engrossing read."
   —Michael Connelly, author of Echo Park

"A Quiet American for the new century. Angry and impassioned, Blood of Paradise is that rare beast: a work of popular fiction that is both serious and thrilling."
   —John Connolly, author of The Book of Lost Things