Dope Thief is shelved with books categorized as mysteries, but it is much more than that. It is an exciting story about redemption.
The story begins as a crime novel. Thirty-year old Stan, the protagonist, is a crook who has been in and out of correction facilities since he was a juvenile. His current scheme is to rip-off drug dealers with the help of his friend Manny.
Stan knows that he is involved in a risky business that will likely end with either his death or incarceration and, inevitably, Stan and Manny steal from the wrong group of bikers and get into a dangerous position. It is at this point that the book blossoms from a standard crime/mystery novel into something extraordinary. Author Dennis Tafoya, writing in spare language with tension and energy, takes us not only through the process of Stan resolving his trouble with the bikers, but the trouble with his life.
Dope Thief is one of the best books I've read this year. It has danger, redemption, philosophy and reality, injury and forgiveness. The book's jacket art wonderfully sums up the novel. The artwork, by Jonathan Bennett, shows a heart wrapped in thorns with a flame burning above. On the heart is printed "A Mystery". Dope Thief may indeed be a mystery novel, but the crime and drama give way to the ultimate mystery, the mystery of the heart.