Thursday 1 October 2020



Carl is a Yankee cop in a small Texas border town. Isabella is a beautiful Mexican woman whom everyone in town loves, including the hapless Pete and the wealthy and powerful Jack...but most of all, Carl. Part romance, part police procedural, In the Shadow of El Paso contains two short stories by Frank Zafiro. Both explore love, race, class and the ambiguity that exists on the southern border.

Another short listen and another notch on the scoreboard with two long-ish short stories from recent discovery, author Frank Zafiro. An entertaining hour and a half was had.

Both stories feature the same small Texas border town (fictional), the same main character - Carl  - a cop and the same cast of locals.

Racism, hatred, domestic violence, illegals or undocumented, scapegoats, bars, drinks, bitterness, lust, love, jealousy, infidelity, attraction, cops, corruption, friendships - pressured and tense, a mogul with money, power, influence, and a subjugate town beholden to him. 

Both are busy stories with the main character, Carl an outsider in the town and very black and white as regards his application of the law - ie it's impartially applied to the rich and the poor. Carl just doesn't understand how this small town works.

I liked Carl's character and his back bone. I liked his moral fibre and his refusal to be cowed in the face of his chief and the local big shot. I liked the good fight he fought. Some wars you just can't win though.

A character I'd like to see more of wherever he rocks up next. 

4 from 5

Frank Zafiro's work has been enjoyed earlier this year with two crackers both co-authored with Colin Conway - Charlie 316 and Never the Crime

Read - (listened to) September, 2020
Published - 2012
Page count - 59 (1hr 22mins)
Source - Audible purchase
Format- Audible


  1. This looks like one of those cases where our tastes run similar, Col. I like the sound of this one. The setting sounds like a good choice, and Carl sounds like a likeable character. One to think about...

    1. I hope you like it if you ever get around to trying it, Margot