~Written by Marc Cortez
Deep in the heart of Denver’s Five Points varrio, an innocent teenage boy is killed in a gang-related shooting.
The intended target, gang-leader Benicio de los Santos, assembles his Latin Disciples into a Denver basement to plot their revenge. Does it matter that the hit planned for him killed an innocent boy? No. What matters is how careless his main enemy, the Sureño Daggers, have become. His cholo brethren demand the bloody removal of their enemy's chief, King Diaz, and the quick takeover of Sureño drug turf. But Santos recalls a lesson from Sun Tzu - that true generalship destroys rather than counters enemy plans - and so commands his soldados to do nothing. He’ll avenge his wife and son’s murder on his terms, when he decides.
Across town, a family struggles to come to terms with their son's murder. Businessman Miguel Rodriguez wonders what led his son down to the varrio in the first place, the very streets he’d fought so hard to overcome. He’d renamed his son precisely to distance him from their varrio past, despite the repeated protests of his wife Carmela. Wouldn’t life as a white Julian Ross, mingling with Denver’s elite, offer more than a brown Julio Rodriguez? They’d fought about the name change for years. And now, with Julian gone, Miguel realizes that the only way to find his lost son is to return to his childhood streets.
A GANGSTER’S GARDEN is a story of murder and redemption, set in Denver's Five Points varrio. (Amazon.com)
A Gangster's Garden is an awe-inspiring story of death, life, and salvation. When Julian, a teenage boy, dies in a gang related incident his parents are faced with the realization that they really didn't know their son. In searching for the truth about their son, they discover a great deal about themselves and now in order to overcome their grief Julian's parents must make life altering decisions.
The leader of the Latin Disciples is also facing the heartbreaking loss of a child and has begun to question his reasons for continuing to lead the gang. Seeking forgiveness and the desire to someday join his wife and child in heaven he too makes a life changing choice.
A Gangster's Garden is deeply touching and that author's ability for story telling pulled me in. The author skillfully develops his characters, but I was most intrigued by Benicio de los Santos, leader of the Latin Disciples. This character has done some unspeakable things in his lifetime, yet I found myself drawn to his hope for forgiveness and desire for a second chance. Benicio seeks what we all want, peace in the choices we've made, good or bad, and the opportunity to experience happiness.
I cannot give A Gangster's Garden enough praise. The story was so much more than I thought it would be. Yes, there's gang violence and death, but the new life that is born out of the mayhem makes the story an inspiring read.
I highly recommend picking up a copy of A Gangster's Garden. Available at Amazon.com.