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A From the cover of Safe Delivery Bed of the Old & New! All the latest in Organic & Natural foods and Computer Medic * Repairs * Upgrades * Networking * * Consultations * Instruction * PC and Mac experts Ask about our G3 upgrade special for PowerMacs! As Sanderson weaves this plot into the intricacy of a well-made serape, he takes time out to comment on the setting and background of old San Antonio. His narrative antipathy toward the recent changes in the city’s demography is often hilarious and, for any who know the old town, a touch sad. He outlines the bittersweet realities of enforced changes in the faade of a city that out of fiscal necessity has laid itself open to the incursion of hoards of tourists, snowbirds, and rust-belt immigrants with their yuppie ways and modern demands, while trying to preserve something of its historical and cultural integrity. At the same time, though, he is hard on the traditional city government, which has permitted the urban infrastructure to deteriorate in the wake of glitzy and shallow improvements, and which ignores the urban blight while it pours millions into the fashionable suburbs of the North Side. Sanderson’s knowledge of San Antonio, and the racial, social, and economic tensions under which the city sags and moans into the twenty-first century, is incisive. But beneath the veneer of progress, and the shiny glass and steel, faux stonework, and labyrinthine freeway systems, his Alamo City characters still express through their habits and comments their profound love of the old San Antonio that longtime citizens so fondly remember. His characters especially love the food; indeed, one might say that virtually all these people do is eat. The novel could almost pass as a culinary guide to the best cooking the Alamo City has to offer, although the names of some extant restaurants are not correctly rendered, and the best of them are omitted. As the plot continues to spin toward a resolution, Parr must reconcile his conflicts of the heart and head, while Johnson seeks some way out of the dilemma into which her former lover has placed her. She is as taken with Parr and his more mature approaches to sexual gratification, as she is obsessed with the torch she carries for the carnally talented Fuentes. All the while, the evil denizens of crime and political machinations swirl around the steamy San Antonio climate like so many clouds of angry mosquitoes, while the marginal “good guys” attempt to find a way out of the mess into which international intrigue has placed them. Although often marred by grammatical gaffes, repetitive passages, numerous stale jokes and clichs, and not a few geographic errors, Safe Delivery indicates that Jim Sanderson has a particular talent for building an intricate plot into a solid pattern of complex human relationships. He is clearly making his mark as a significant contributor to the canon of Texas crime fiction, and there is little doubt that there will be more border intrigue emerging from his imagination. Clay Reynolds lives in North Texas, and teaches at U.T.Dallas. His new novel is Monuments JULY 21, 2000 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 29