Responses are starting to trickle in to new novel Blood and Gold: The Legend of Joaquin Murrieta. It’s always tough for small-press books to get traction, but this one is being noticed in some interesting places. There was, for example, this TikTok review that gave the book “10 stars out of 5” and called it a “truly brilliant story.”
On November 27th, a writer in the Los Angeles Times included it in a rundown of books about Mexicans fighting back against injustice, and said: “The only novel on this list also happens to be based on California’s original mad-as-hell Mexican. Blood and Gold: The Legend of Joaquin Murrieta is a reimagining of the iconic gold miner-turned-desperado, whose pursuit by California law enforcement and grisly fate as a preserved head displayed to scare generations of Anglos has inspired multiple books, songs, dime-store novels, murals and movies.
“Author Jeffrey J. Mariotte is an experienced Western writer, and his co-writer Peter Murrieta is a renowned Hollywood showrunner, so their 600-page novel zips through its action-filled saga with the vigor of Louis L’Amour (and with a hell of a plot twist at the end). Historians still debate how much, if any, of Murrieta’s tale actually happened, but that’s beside the point for Mariotte.
“’That’s the thing about legends, and about fiction,’ he writes in an author’s note. ‘What’s true isn’t as important as what could, in the right circumstances, be perceived as true.’
“What rings as fact in Blood and Gold is that Murrieta and his fellow Mexicans had every right to go on rampages in Gold Rush California due to the loss of land and lynchings they endured. Although only history nerds remember Murrieta today, he was an inspiration to Mexican Americans through the 1970s for his deeds, and his campaign against racists and a corrupt power system is a campaign that we should all enlist in — save for the robberies and killings, of course.”
Then, of course, there was the book’s full page in the Spanish-language magazine People en Espanol. That’s never happened to me before. And the Deadline: Hollywood story, another first.
I’d love to know what you think. If you’ve read it, please leave a review on the book’s Amazon page. If you haven’t, there’s still time!