Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder & Family by Charles Bowden — A Short Review

Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder & Family by Charles Bowden “There was a War on Drugs, and you lost . . .” This is one of the many memorable quotes of Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder & Family by Charles Bowden. I’ve previously posted a blog on his Murder City, and I’ve decided to read everything he’s written. I’m working backwards with his writings–next will be be Blood Orchid. He is one of those authors whose language is so strong, so piercing, that I’d have to place him on the same level as Ernest Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, authors who have influenced and touched me deeply. I have read everything these authors have written–some works more than once. Bowden has been added to this list. This past year, I have worked one to three weeks every month in South Texas from Laredo to Brownsville, doing Texas History and Red Ribbon Day Programs at schools, various presentations at libraries and museums, and playing music at pubs, restaurants, and other venues. The Rio Grande Valley has deeply touched my soul. This last week, I performed Christmas music at the outlet mall in Mercedes, Texas, a week when the residents of Northern Mexico who can afford to do so, swarm into the Valley. As I looked into the eyes and smiling faces of the folks passing by and generously tossing money into my tip jar (see picture below), my heart was touched by their kindness and generosity, but I could not get Bowden’s books out of my mind. His books are the kind that change you forever–once you read them, you are never the same. Bowden’s books are the books that our nation’s leaders should read. They are the writings of a prophet–a man much like Jeremiah or Cassandra whom no one wanted to listen to. His books are an expos