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Antonio Bernal is a Guatemalan refugee in Los Angeles haunted by memories of his wife and child, who were murdered at the hands of a man marked with yellow ink. In a park near Antonio’s apartment, Guillermo Longoria extends his arm and reveals a sinister tattoo—yellow pelt, black spots, red mouth. It is the sign of the death squad, the Jaguar Battalion of the Guatemalan army.

This chance encounter between Antonio and his family’s killer ignites a psychological showdown between these two men. Each will discover that the war in Central America has migrated with them as they are engulfed by the quemazones—“the great burning” of the Los Angeles riots. A tragic tale of loss and destiny in the underbelly of an American city, The Tattooed Soldier is Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Héctor Tobar’s mesmerizing exploration of violence and the marks it leaves upon us.

About Hector Tobar

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In his first novel, Los Angeles Times reporter Hector Tobar combines his journalistic skill with first-hand knowledge of L.A.'s urban blight and Guatemala's third world problems. The Tattooed Soldier (1998) tells of conflict between a Guatemalan soldier, a former member of a death squad, and one of his living victims, a homeless refugee whose wife and child were killed by this tattooed soldier. As the Los Angeles riots erupt, the two men clash with vengeance. Hector Tobar grew up in affluent Southern California, but maintains sympathetic roots in Central America. His parents immigrated from Guatemala. Tobar earned an M.F.A. from the University of California at Irvine and became a reporter with the Los Angeles Times in the 1980's. Along with a team of writers, he was honored with a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the L.A. riots in 1992.
Published October 7, 2014 by Picador. 321 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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He buys a gun with the help of a homeless friend, and, in the chaos of the South Central riots that erupt soon after, the hunter and his prey meet again in a confrontation that is protracted but decisive—and through it Antonio is finally able to put his shame to rest.

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Publishers Weekly

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The fates of Guatemalan death-squad veteran Guillermo Longoria and traumatized, homeless refugee Antonio Bernal have been entwined since the day Longoria killed Antonio's wife and son in Guatemala.

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