The Illegal




Available Now!

Paper, $15.00

ISBN: 978-0-9883103-46


Review excerpt of The Illegal on Booklist:
"Mort expertly weaves into the plot issues of global warming, globalization (in the guise of the ever-present Walmart), the pervasiveness of megachurches ('the Walmart of ministries'), industrial hog farming, and the genetic engineering of livestock. He even raises the question, should a gringo author try to take the point of view of Latinos? Judging from this fine work, the answer is a resounding yes."
                                         —Ben Segedin, Booklist




Fall 2013  


One hot night on the Rio Grande, a corrupt drug deal goes the wrong way. Police set themselves against soldiers, and soldiers die. Lieutenant Mario Oliveros should be among them, but he swims for his life to Langtry, Texas. Officially, he's a dead hero. Alive, in Mexico, he'd be dead soon enough. Through no fault of his own, he has become an illegal.

Set in today's Mexico, Dallas, and the Texas Panhandle, The Illegal charts Mario's journey across desert and urban landscapes, seeking honest work and a place to rest. Slowly, an old dream
—turned American Dream—asserts itself.

But it's hard to dream when you're illegal. Current, prophetic, and often humorous, Mario's story brings a welcome, human dimension to the immigration debate. The Illegal is a fast-paced tale about one man's dangerous journey toward freedom.


John Mort is the author of the novel, Goat Boy of the Ozarks, as well as Soldier in Paradise, which won the W.Y. Boyd Award for best military fiction. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, GQ, and The Missouri Review; story collections include The Walnut King and DON'T MEAN NOTHIN: Vietnam War Stories. Originally from southern Missouri, Mort has lived and worked all over the United States as a librarian, teacher, and editor. In addition to the Hackney Award, Mort won a Western Writers of America Spur Award, for a story adapted from The Illegal called "The Hog Whisperer." Mort is a graduate of the University of Iowa with MFA and MLS degrees. He lives in Missouri.