Welcome to the Border
The Dead Run by Adam Mansbach
When and Where?
Del Verde is a modern day, crime ridden fictional town just a few miles south of the Mexican-American border. There is not a large population, but the crime rate rivals the big cities. Organised crime, human trafficking, and cartels are certainly not excluded from the long list of Del Verde's occurrences.
The town of Del Verde is certainly not a technologically advanced, or even advanced period, town. It is easy for the reader to imagine Del Verde as one of the ghost towns from the wild west. Del Verde has small homes and is rather small, but packs quite the punch, regardless.
Del Verde isn't your happy town where everybody gets along. The Dead Run exhibits a dark mood throughout, and branches out towards a sort of melancholy intrigue. At no point in the book is the reader left with happy thoughts or friendship, and the moods in this book are almost unanimously negative.
The Effect of Setting on Characters
Living in a crime ridden town certainly does not come without it's hardships. The characters in this book, both main and supporting, are very rarely safe outside of their homes. Every corner could hold a kidnapper or mugger just waiting to jump out at a character. Characters that are borderline corrupt even find it hard to resist the draw of a life of crime.
The Effect of Setting on Plot
This book is changed greatly by the events so often and rapidly happening throughout the town of Del Verde and the rest of the county. One minute a character could catch a break; the next moment, that character comes face to face with a gang member they met up with earlier in the plot. Of all the many main characters in The Dead Run, not a single one of them seems to ever catch their breath for more than a few invaluable seconds.
Juarez Valley, Mexico, the place deemed "deadliest place on Earth" could not remind me more of Del Verde. Juarez Valley, an almost completely abandoned town, expects up to two murders a day, with a side of arson and larceny. The fact that both the fictional Del Verde and actual Juarez Valley share so many similarities, including location, leaves me wondering if the town of Del Verde was not inspired by this real world village.