Thanks to Rare Bird Books and TLC Book Tours for the free copy in exchange for my honest review
THE ROAD TO DELANO – John DeSimone (Released March 10th, 2020)
Jack Duncan is a high school senior whose dream is to play baseball in college and beyond?as far away from Delano as possible. He longs to escape the political turmoil surrounding the labor struggles of the striking fieldworkers that infests his small ag town. Ever since his father, a grape grower, died under suspicious circumstances ten years earlier, he’s had to be the sole emotional support of his mother, who has kept secrets from him about his father’s involvement in the ongoing labor strife.
With their property on the verge of a tax sale, Jack drives an old combine into town to sell it so he and his mother don’t become homeless. On the road, an old friend of his father’s shows up and hands him the police report indicating Jack’s father was murdered. Jack is compelled to dig deep to discover the entire truth, which throws him into the heart of the corruption endemic in the Central Valley. Everything he has dreamed of is at stake if he can’t control his impulse for revenge.
While Jack’s girlfriend, the intelligent and articulate Ella, warns him not to so anything to jeopardize their plans of moving to L.A., after graduation, Jack turns to his best friend, Adrian, a star player on the team, to help to save his mother’s land. When Jack’s efforts to rescue a stolen piece of farm equipment leaves Adrian?the son of a boycotting fieldworker who works closely with Cesar Chavez?in a catastrophic situation, Jack must bail his friend out of his dilemma before it ruins his future prospects. Jack uses his wits, his acumen at card playing, and his boldness to raise the money to spring his friend, who has been transformed by his jail experience.
The Road to Delano is the path Jack, Ella, and Adrian must take to find their strength, their duty, their destiny
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
John DeSimone is a new to me author, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when starting THE ROAD TO DELANO. I was expecting some mystery and historical fiction, but we get so much more than that. A family struggling, corruption, a worker’s strike, Caesar Chavez, and the determination of one man. I loved the inclusion of some real life events in this fictional story – I feel like that always adds a little something extra to the historical fiction genre.
Sugar and Shirley Duncan buy a piece of land in the town of Delano and quickly becomes a successful grape grower. One night, Sugar is involved in an accident that takes his life, leaving Shirley alone to raise their son Jack. Things begin to spiral for them and Jack is determined to leave Delano behind as soon as he can. Until one night, someone close to them approaches Jack and tells him that his father’s death wasn’t an accident. So begins the journey to find out what really happened to his father. This investigation he and his friend start lead them to uncover political corruption and secrets within Delano where they cross paths with Caesar Chavez and the boycott in the late 1960’s.
This was more than just a mystery and a historical fiction read. These characters are so well-developed and ones you can really connect with. I loved the author’s writing style and how well everything flowed. No pacing issues and I think those that aren’t the biggest fans of historical fiction (for fear of it feeling slow or like reading a textbook) I think this would be a great one to pick up.