God Is a Bullet

by Boston Teran

The feral wasteland of the southern California desert and the badlands of Mexico: these are the settings for Boston Teran’s searing debut novel—a dark, wrenching thriller about personal conviction, retribution, and survival.Fall1970.

  • Paperback
  • Pages: 310 pages
  • Average Rating: 3.81 out of 5
  • Published 2000 by Pan
  • Original Title: God Is a Bullet
  • ISBN: 0330369415 (ISBN13: 9780330369411)
  • Edition Language: English
  • Literary Awards: The CWA (Crime Writers' Association) New Blood Dagger (2000)
  • Edgar Award Nominee for Best First Novel (2000)
  • Kono Mystery ga Sugoi for Best Translated Mystery Novel of the Year in Japan (2002)
  • Japan Adventure Fiction Association Prize 日本冒険小説協会大賞特別賞 for Best Translated Novel (2001)

The feral wasteland of the southern California desert and the badlands of Mexico: these are the settings for Boston Teran’s searing debut novel—a dark, wrenching thriller about personal conviction, retribution, and survival.Fall 1970. In a remote playa a twelve-year-old boy stumbles upon a hideous scene in a dust-strewn trailer: the savage murder of a woman that will remain unsolved for twenty-five years.Christmas week, 1995. A fourteen-year-old girl is kidnapped by a bloodthirsty satanic cult that calls itself the Left-Handed Path. The leader, Cyrus, considers murder the “ultimate freedom, ultimate joy…ultimate service.” His “tribe” is a group of drug-fueled young psychopaths honing their skills under the tutelage of a master. Helter Skelter. And then some.Bob Hightower, the girl’s father, is a cop, suddenly more desperate than he ever imagined possible. There are no clues to his daughter’s whereabouts, only a scene of unfathomable carnage—the mutilated corpses of her mother and stepfather—left behind by the kidnappers. His only hope is a fierce ex-cult member named Case Hardin, a woman tempered to an extraordinary strength by what she’s endured, who’s just getting off the junkie trail in a halfway house in Hollywood. Bob has absolutely no reason, and every need, to trust her.Case suspects that the killings, committed within fifty miles of each other and separated by a quarter of a century, are part of a byzantine nightmare she knows too well, a nightmare that has now engulfed Bob’s daughter. Their quest—he for his child, she to exorcise her demons—becomes a primal hunt-and-chase through a savage subculture of drugs and ritualistic violence (“the black land of plenty”) that takes them inexorably toward the limits of physical and psychological torment and trauma.God Is a Bullet is an indelible story of people who must discover what it means to surrender oneself completely—to drugs, or power, or faith, or love—and, when necessary, what it takes to come back. It is a stunning debut.