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Coyote Songs

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  730 ratings  ·  231 reviews
In Gabino Iglesias’ second novel, ghosts and old gods guide the hands of those caught up in a violent struggle to save the soul of the American southwest.

A man tasked with shuttling children over the border believes the Virgin Mary is guiding him towards final justice. A woman offers colonizer blood to the Mother of Chaos. A boy joins corpse destroyers to seek vengeance fo
Kindle Edition, 214 pages
Published October 31st 2018 by Broken River Books (first published October 26th 2018)
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Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  730 ratings  ·  231 reviews

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Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Textured, intriguing novel, told from multiple points of view. This is a story about borders, crossings, justice, the spiritual world. There are several characters but Iglesias is particularly at adept in making them distinct. The structure of this novel is also admirable, how he weaves these threads together and only in the end do you see why, and what he has been assembling. I also love the use of language, the cadence of the sentences. Lots to like here.
Sadie Hartmann
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a daunting task to review a book like COYOTE SONGS. This is not something I feel comfortable looking at through the same bookish lenses I view all my other reads. I almost need some other criteria in which to discern my feelings towards it--maybe I could wear the hat of an art critic or a wine sommelier?
A sommelier has "a deep knowledge of how food and wine, beer, spirits and other beverages work in harmony" and I feel like after reading COYOTE SONGS, a collection of stories woven together
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
COYOTE SONGS. What can I say? It was brilliant, so let's start with that.

I can't even hope to write a review as insightful and well written as my friend's, Michael Patrick Hicks', here:

All I can hope to do is try to impart to you the way this book make me feel. There is a small group of characters living near the U.S./Mexican border and we are privy to their lives-with all the sorrows and joys therein. Unfortunately, there are very few joys. There is li
Michael Hicks
On an island in the New York Harbor, a French woman stands tall, proud even. Time and ocean have covered her body in a green patina, but her torch and all that she stands for still shine. A handful of words epitomize the sum of her ideals, and those of her country:

Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

More than two thousand miles away, migrant children, babies, women, and men fleeing violence in their home country of Honduras are tear gassed as the US Border P
Janie C.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is beautiful in its use of language, potent in its exclamations of agony and passionate in its gravitational pull between love and hate. Spirits both human and supernatural transcend their own boundaries to spill blood and tears of oppression into the earth. Poetically written and savagely honest in its presentation of horrific injustice, this is a book to be savored and absorbed. Even if it hurts.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After reading the amazing review Michael Hicks did for this book, I'm kind of hard pressed to come up with anything that could possibly say more or add anything original. Sincerely, read his review. It sums up this book so unbelievably well.

I can say that Coyote Songs moved me deeply and that it's a very important work of fiction. Especially now. Everyone should read this. Especially those of us who know nothing about true poverty or have never feared for our lives.

The format for this novel is
"Whatever is happening there smells like blood and bad news."
Gabino Iglesias's novel Zero Saints was one of my favorite books I read in 2016. I also mentioned in that review that it was completely original and unlike anything I'd read before. This latest work follows that trend and goes even further. It's even harder to pin down than that previous book.
The silence on the other side of the door struck him as forced, pregnant with something tense, something that belonged to the
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"God works in mysterious ways...but he gets really fucking weird when it comes to poor people and dangerous places."

Coyote Songs was my introduction to Gabino Iglesias' books, and I am happy to say that it was a fantastic introduction. This book is so gorgeously written, and I feel like nothing I say can do it justice. This is a mosaic novel - these can be hit or miss for me, but Iglesias is very successful at writing in this format.

I want to say upfront that I'm not entirely certain that I un
Tracy Robinson
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“You don’t want to sleep because you’re hungry. Quieres sangre.”

I’m writing up a review for so stay tuned for my full review very soon. I’ve highlighted 20+ passages...the writing is beautiful.

Full review from my Sci-Fi and Scary entry:

This barrio noir is a stunning example of a mosaic horror/crime novel that pulls the reader through vastly different, yet similar, experiences. The sections are titled with the focus characters: Pedrito (heartbreaking/revenge/coming of age h
Tim Meyer
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Goodreads maxes out at a five-star rating, but this book deserves every star the sky can offer. Perfect and satisfying on every level. Horrifying and heart-wrenching, Gabino captures a brutally honest look at life on the border. I didn't want the stories within these pages to end, but as Gabino writes, "Every end is guaranteed." A strong contender for my favorite book of the year. ...more
Don Gillette
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely riveting, heart-breaking mosaic of a novel that is both frightening and soul-rendering, Coyote Songs may very well be one of the most ground-breaking books of the past ten years.
Whether you call it a novel or a fiction collection (the category in which it will win the Bram Stoker Award for 2018 if there's an ounce of justice in the world), it is a must-read for every thinking person on this planet.
For those unaware, coyote is a colloquial Mexican expression for someone engaged in s
Benoit Lelièvre
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Coyote Songs is the spiritual successor to Gabino Iglesias' riveting Zero Saints, a stupendously brutal tale of dark redemption that became an instant cult classic upon release in 2015.

So, the bar was high for Iglesias and shrewdly enough, he decided to go in a slightly different direction. La Frontera, the lawless and terrifying setting of Zero Saints has somehow become a even worse place for migrants looking for a better life, taking parts of their soul in exchange for an unguaranteed passage
Ross Jeffery
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Such a powerful book - the blurb at the back says it’s a novel, I’d kinda like to disagree with that. It’s one of the best interwoven collection of short stories I’ve read in a while (after Bryan Washington’s Lot) for two reasons - one it’s horror related; not your typical horror but more psychological more of what makes monsters of men and women. And secondly Iglesias prose is so tight and beautifully woven together - he’s proved with this collection that he is one gifted raconteur.

I loved
Audra (ouija.reads)
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This book is the reason we read, live, and breathe horror. It is a book I'd consider required reading, not just for horror fans, but for anyone who wants to read great literature that has a social impact, books that have something to say.

Pitched as a barrio noir, these stories live in the now, wafting through the dark social and political current we live in, buzzing on the wavelength of so many hopefuls looking for a better life, while ebbing into something stranger and more dangerous.

There are
Chris Kelso
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bizarro
A beautifully-written crime/horror mosaic. As good as anything I've read in recent memory. I don't even know where to start. ...more
Mary J. Anderson
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How do I even begin to tell you how incredibly important this book is? It's not just a literary gem; a metaphorical punch to the gut that stuns you, sends you crashing into the ground and then elevates you into a stratosphere of poetic prose.

No, that's not all this book is, although that alone would have been worth it, it would have been enough. This is also a necessary political and socio-cultural commentary. A violent, deadly ride across both sides of la frontera.
This bilingual mosaic of inte
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Initially drawn in by the beautiful cover art, then intrigued by the many 5 star reviews on social media, I purchased this book for myself. This was my first read from Gabino Iglesias, and it certainly won't be my last.

Coyote Songs takes us on a journey in the lives of several characters, and each of their stories are profound and leave a lasting impression on the reader. This book is different than anything else I've read, as it feels like a blend of genres. It's my first venture into "barrio
Well Read Beard
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
This book ( more than any other this year ) came with crazy high recommendations, and when that happens - I don't think you can help but have massive expectations. For me, it paid off for the most part - I really liked the book - I had a really hard time not going 5 stars, it has 88% 5 star reviews and I virtually know most of those people. Somehow, for whatever reason a 4 star review here feels like something negative.

The mosaic style was a bit different for me, enjoyable, just different. Maybe
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“You have to care about the living, kid, because the dead don’t matter, unless you believe in ghosts.”

Believe in ghost indeed, this book is haunted by them, Iglesias weaves a mosaic of stories and characters together in such a shocking way it’s hard to tell if this novel is more crime noir, horror, or a stunning portrayal of shatteringly relevant topics.
Six characters alternate these chapters, six people living on the border in Mexico all striving for something. Pedrito, is just a boy who wit
Kev Harrison
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This one had been on my list for a good while, and in my possession for a couple weeks before I turned the first page. I was waiting for a time when I'd be able to read unmolested by life, work and so on. It ended up being a good choice, as I ploughed through it in a matter of days - and I'm usually a fairly slow reader.

Coyote Songs comprises several stories, told piece by piece, of different people with different problems, along the southern border of the US. Some of these stories intertwine, o
L.F. Falconer
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Proving his mastery of evocative descriptions, Iglesias delivers some powerful, gut-punching scenes, blending mysticism with timely current events. Sad, horrifying, and haunting, the contents of these pages won't leave you any time soon. Certainly, a compelling read. ...more
Daniel Barnett
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's not much to say here that hasn't been said already. COYOTE SONGS is an incredible work of imagination, and a raw, powerful, timely statement from someone who is quickly becoming one of my most respected authors. While I personally preferred the white-knuckled, linear narrative of ZERO SAINTS, a book that both moved me and bowled me over, I know I'll be thinking about (and talking about) this one for a long time.
Sonora Taylor
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 ⭐️. A remarkable tapestry of tales that look at the horrific underbellies of justice and redemption. I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time.
Richard Gerlach
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias is a book that is going to pass some people by and that’s a shame. Everyone needs to read this book. It is important, it is powerful, and it has never been more relevant. This is a book about America. Specifically, it’s about Hispanic Americans both legal and illegal. It’s about mothers, women, and violence. This book broke me. I won’t lie, I cried, then I cried some more, and cried some more, and maybe a little more after that. Coyote Songs is a powerful book tha ...more
Jess Hagemann
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was my first Gabino book, and it was just okay. Having met the man in person, I’m more impressed with him as a speaker and teacher than as a writer. For a topic so focused and niche (cartel and other violence at the border), the stories felt almost generic—like he wanted to make a profound point, but couldn’t quite. Some of the language is overwrought. I did enjoy the seamless transition between English and Spanish. All that said, I finished it, which means something compelled me...probably ...more
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There's some very peculiar stuff going on down on the border...

I called Gabino Iglesias' first novel Zero Saints "a fascinating blend of barrio noir and horror." In this, his second novel, he starts off more on the horror tip, then blows right through that to full bore surreal madness that asks the question: what if all the rage and sorrow of the people being murdered, raped, used, and abused at the southern border of the U.S. took physical shape? The answer is dark, compelling, and impossible t
Matthew X Gomez
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To say I didn't know what I was expecting when I opened up COYOTE SONGS would be a lie. I knew Gabino Iglecias previously from his debut novel ZERO SAINTS, so I expected a brutal, gut punch of a read. What I wasn't expecting was the heart wrenching, anger inducing read I got.
It's not a traditional novel, instead following different threads of people's lives and afterlives as they exist along the northern border of Mexico as they navigate their lives in and around it. This is a book to read and c
Lisa Reads & Reviews
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: western
Certainly a powerful story supported by excellent writing about a subject that demands attention. Not a novel that I enjoyed, but reading it jostled the soul. Talented writer, he dug deep for the emotion and imagination.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The new Gabino Iglesias novela, "Coyote Songs" is a direct follower to his first brutal work of fiction, "Zero Saints". The story takes place in the same latino-US mish-mash of the Texas border, where Spanish and English are used together in a beautiful mix of accents and words. It is a brutal tale of failed revenge and redemption, an ironic noir that pays its respects to genre giants such as James McCain, Jim Harrison or Jom Thompson, but with a refreshing idiosyncracy of its own. If the story ...more
Sara Tantlinger
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Coyote Songs is a gorgeous, mosaic novel that not only showcases Gabino Iglesias' ability to write stunning and poetic prose, but it's also a book that highlights the beautiful fluidity of languages. These stories show how our universal emotions, pains, and dreads possess the ability to overcome language or cultural barriers, if only we are dedicated enough to actually wanting to understand those with different experiences than our own. I not only enjoyed reading this work, I also learned more a ...more
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“God works in mysterious ways, thought the coyote for a second, but he gets really fucking weird when it comes to poor people and dangerous places.” 4 likes
“She was angry and frustrated, and something was telling her that making assholes bleed was the only way to improve her mood.” 1 likes
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