The second point of view is the young woman mentioned above. Her account begins a few days earlier and describes her trek with twenty-five others in their desperate attempt to flee Mexico and make it to the US. Her sections are truly disturbing. The conditions of their journey are masterfully portrayed by Mr. McBride. The descriptions of unbearable heat and brutal sunshine are actually tangible. The sense of constant thirst and physical deterioration are painful to read. The interactions among these desperate individuals are beautifully depicted. The inner conflict of wanting to support others in the group versus guarding your own provisions becomes very clear.
When people begin to be picked off one by one by horrifying predators, the grueling narrative really gets kicked into high gear. The attacks by unknown creatures are thrillingly described and you begin to wonder what exactly is going on. I thought I had it figured out but the author had a number of twists which made the creatures (and their activities) highly unusual.
The story alternates between the two points of view – one working forward in time (the woman’s perspective) and the other backward in time (the border agent trying to piece together exactly what happened). This storytelling strategy is effective for this narrative. If I have one criticism it is the author’s tendency repeat himself with descriptions of the desert and the “lair” of the creatures. This is a minor quibble, however and does not detract from the story. Altogether a top-notch horror/monster story.