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Esteban A. Martinez

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Member Since: Before 2003

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In Memory of Gods and Heroes
by Esteban A. Martinez   

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Publisher:  iUniverse ISBN-10:  0595240097 Type: 


Copyright:  Jan 1 2002

A story about the nature of violence, of love and of offering.

Barnes &

This tale, on the surface a story about vengeance, is a stunning lesson in the nature of violence, of love and of offering.

The main character, Santiago, wants to kill his brother-in-law, Tony, an alcoholic who beats Santiago’s sister and her children.

Despite Santiago's murderous intent, the steps he takes toward killing Tony - drinking excessive amounts of alcohol for courage, buying a .45 Smith & Wesson, practicing marksmanship at a shooting range, confessing his murder plan to important persons in his life - amount to nothing more than hesitation and avoidance.

This buys Santiago time during which - through the process of remembering childhood acts of heroism performed by himself and those he loves - he comes to accept the fact that, regardless of our child-like wishes, pure and profane life realities coexist, that sometimes we don’t know the difference between the two and that we must remember the unique realities of our lives, beautiful and ugly, because from these we derive meaning and strength.


The question assumes Tony's guilt. My dad bases the assumption on a suspicion, a suspicion that all of my family -- from my teen-aged cousins to my ninety-nine-year-old great grandmother -- has had for some time and has never bothered to prove or disprove. Ever. Everyone has always wanted to mind their own business. But we've all suspected. We've all entertained the idea that Tony beats my sister and does weird shit, crazy shit, to his daughter. We've all suspected and none of us have ever done a damn thing about it.

The thought lingers in my brain and I begin to plot a murder, Tony's murder.

Professional Reviews

Martinez Redefines Suspense
This book blew me away.

Martinez doesn’t slowly and deliberately construct a logic-driven storyline for us. Instead, he immediately hooks our interest by snaring our sympathy for starving Somalian children, half a world away.

Santiago, a Latino writing instructor, and his adult cousin Adam are looking at photographs of emaciated Somalian children and talking of God, responsibility, and apathetic child abuse. Then, with the jarring ring of a telephone, Martinez cold cocks us with a devastatingly sudden and searing revelation of child abuse within Santiago’s own family: Santiago’s brother-in-law, Tony, has struck his six-year-old child, Chantel, with a hot frying pan, and, we learn later, Tony has also cudgeled his wife, Robin, yet another time.

This double-sided image of international and home-front child and spouse abuse triggers such anger within Santiago that he begins planning revenge against his brother-in-law.

This novel, however, is no mere narrative of vengeance. Instead, it’s a carefully woven tale of love and offering, with an ending that will surprise every reader with its explosive finality, and yet, from the beginning, Martinez skillfully and quietly prepares us for a revelation that redefines suspense and intensity.

I can’t imagine this novel being told with more power or surprise. It’s valuable for readers to happen upon a book that grips them tightly, one in which they anticipate the ending—and then, without warning, they are stunned in utter disbelief until they think back and realize that in this novel, Martinez thoroughly prepares us for what happens. - Orlando Greene

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Books by
Esteban A. Martinez

In Memory of Gods and Heroes

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