-Silver Medal Winner of the 2017 FAPA President's Awards (Contemporary/Literary category
Trying to escape the oppression leading him to drinking, drugs, and despair, 22-year-old William James rejects a teaching position offer at a prestigious Buffalo high school and moves to Mexico to find freedom in its beaches, mountains, and culture.
But soon, this freedom becomes oppressive as well as William finds himself unable to avoid the pull of the wild party scene in the small town of Lila where he lives. He continues a downward spiral until he meets a complex and compassionate Mexican woman whose love inspires him to face the question he's been avoiding: Is this trip a desperate search for life or a slow death?
A dark but humorous coming-of-age novel, Understanding the Alacrán explores many of the questions that haunt young people searching for love and their place in this world, and offers a poetic look at the raw beauty and healing power of Mexico.
*Understanding the Alacrán is the third book in a loosely-linked series with Hammond and The Summer of Crud as books one and two, and Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story and The Soul City Salvation as books four and five. Each novel can be read independently of the others.