Tijuana Straits Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Tijuana Straits

Scribner, Aug 2004, 25.00, 306 pp.
ISBN: 0684843056

His dilapidated property, inherited from his homicidal father is located near the TIJUANA STRAITS, but loner Sam Fahey never goes surfing at the renowned locale as he had when he was a teen. Instead the former jailbird earns a pittance as a worm farmer who cannot leave his land for the anxiety attacks cripple him when he tries.
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Sam, tracking wild dogs, finds a battered Mexican woman. Though he prefers to avoid humans, Sam brings the assaulted female to his trailer. He learns that his “guest”, twenty-three years old Magdalena Rivera, is an environmental activist working for a Tijuana attorney developing cases against major polluters. However, it is not her paying job that has placed Magdalena in danger, but her volunteer work at a clinic where she helped a severely abused woman with an abortion. This led to her drug-crazed husband Armando Santoya wanting to kill her. Though his offspring was a victim of the pollutants that foul the border; he blames Magdalena for the loss; only Sam stands in the way.

Known for his surf Noir tales, Kem Nunn widens the horizon with this taut border thriller. Readers learn through flashbacks what turned Sam from a highly regarded surfer into a panic attack hermit; the audience finds out why Magdalena is a rabid clean air and water activist (the hypocrisy that America worries about free trade agreements leading to pollution is ironic); finally what motivates Armando to obsess over killing Magdalena. Though there is unnecessary violence (that seems to symbolize the writer's beliefs of the lawlessness of the California-Mexico border), the author shows he is second to none when it comes to readers riding a suspense laden crest.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Tijuana Straits

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes Who's the criminal enemy here?    -   crazed lover/family member If story PRIMARILY about main chr. being hunted...    -   hunted by dangerous boy/girlfriend/spouse

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   unemployed Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Texas

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Kem Nunn Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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