Mule

From Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Hong, South Korea.

From an award-winning "savvy storyteller"* comes a page-turning, zeitgeist-capturing novel of a young couple who turn to drug trafficking to make it through the recession. *Entertainment Weekly

James and Kate are golden children of the late twentieth-century, flush with opportunity. But then economic downturn and an unexpected pregnancy send them searching for a way to make do.

A winter in the mountains of California's Siskiyou County introduces a tempting opportunity. A friend grows prime-grade marijuana; if James transports just one load from Cali to Florida, he'll pull down enough cash to survive for months.

James navigates life as a mule, then a boss — from money-hungry friends to gun-toting drug lords, from Sacramento to Tallahassee, from just making the weight move cross-country to making thousands of dollars a day. The risks keep rising, forcing him to the next criminal level. A kidnapping, a shoot-out, a bank vault — it all culminates in a swirl of action.

Absorbing and timely, Mule perfectly captures the anxieties of plunging into the criminal world and of being a young person in a moment when the American Dream you never had to believe in suddenly vanishes from the menu.

From Mule

One day working with Darren, I finally asked him, “How much would a guy have to pay for a pound of Siskiyou weed?”

“If the guy was a friend he’d probably have to pay two and a half,” Darren said.

“Thousand?” I said.

“Yeah thousand.”

“And how much could a guy get in Florida for it?”

“A guy could drop it in Florida for five or six.”

“Thousand?”

“Yeah thousand.”

The idea of something became planted in me. I didn’t know exactly what the idea was or what I would do about it, just that something could be had here in the mountains for a price you couldn’t get it for anywhere else and that I could buy it for that price and take it somewhere else and sell it for more than I’d paid. When I thought about it, I saw money, money we needed. I put thoughts of risk and danger away. I was already living in so much fear: that my child would go without, that I’d drag my family through poverty. More than anything else, I felt like I’d failed Kate in how our lives were supposed to be.

I called Mason two nights later.

2011

September

22 Thursday
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Tony's novels Whiteman and The Konkans are being included in a special Library of Congress collection to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps. Tony's having lunch at the Library with other Peace Corps writers at an event emceed by Hardball's Chris Matthews, and co-hosted by Congressman John Garamendi.

Black Rooster Pub, 6 p.m.
Meet Tony and other writers at 1919 L Street NW. Hosted by Peace Corps Worldwide

24 Saturday
Peace Corps Bash, 6 p.m.
Tony will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps at Washington University Smith Arena, 600 22nd Street, N.W. near the Foggy Bottom metro station. Tickets are are $33 in advance, more at the door. Bands include Cheick Diabate Hamala and Proverbs Reggae. Get your books signed and support the Peace Corps Fund!

26 Monday
Listen to Tony on The Leonard Lopate Show!

Book Court, 7 p.m.
MULE release party!
163 Court Street (between Pacific & Dean)
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 875.3677

28 Wednesday
Diesel, A Bookstore, 7 p.m.
5433 College Ave
Oakland, CA
(510) 653.9965

29 Thursday
Books, Inc, in The Marina, 7 p.m.
2251 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 931.3633

30 Friday
Book Soup, 7 p.m.
8818 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA
(310) 659-3110

October

1 Saturday
Listen to Tony on West Coast Live!

3 Monday
Listen to Tony on Bookworm!

11 Tuesday
Left Bank Books, w/Richard Burgin, 7 p.m.
399 N Eulcid Ave
St. Louis, MO
(314) 367-6731

21 Friday
Bookstore1Sarasota, 7:30 p.m.
1359 Main Street
Sarasota, FL
(941) 365-7900

22 Saturday
St. Petersburg Festival of Reading, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
140 Seventh Avenue South - at Bayboro Harbor
St. Petersburg, FL
Sponsored by the St. Pete Times and USF

24 Monday
Arts and Cultural Alliance Awards, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 7 p.m.
Sarasota, FL
Tony receives the John Ringling Towers Fund Literary Grant