Indie Book Review: “Plundering the Till” by Ken Brimhall

Brimhall’s first novel will take you places that will surprise you.  “Plundering the Till” is set in a South Texas border town called San Miguel. The title reflects the novel’s theme, where corruption pervades at every level depending on where one is looking.

Through detailed prose and nicely blended back story, readers will come to know and care about Brimhall’s characters and all the gritty aspects of their lives.  Brimhall cleverly illustrates the blending of American border town culture and Latino American culture stretching between the U.S. Mexican border all the way to Antigua, Guatemala.

You’ll feel like you’re there with Ty Bentancourt and Phil Strias as each faces the consequences of the corruption they encounter, both dealing with it in different ways.  As a rebel journalist Bentancourt puts himself in the thick of it while his best friend Phil, a school teacher is a voice of reason.  It seems everyone in San Miguel knows everyone else, including the “politicos.”  There is no place to hide from those who wish to continue “plundering the till.”

Brimhall includes some nice comparative and artistic metaphoric symbolism within each of the chapters.  In a few places he describes the leaf cutter ants stripping away at the sparse living greenery of the local settings, just as the mayor and sheriff of San Miguel take their own cut of money from tax paying citizens, emulating the corruption that led to civil war in Guatemala. The leaf cutter ants on the novel’s cover blends in nicely with the story’s theme.

For me, this novel was a satisfying read suggesting Brimhall has even more to offer within the pages of his other two recently published novels.

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