Society is a tough place to live. Daily, it seems, a huge thumb presses down on us. What happens when someone pushes back, flips off the gigantic, karmic oppressor? Or simply caves in and decides to wallow in the gutter? Desperate Times Call is a collection of stories about people on society’s fringes and margins. Characters pushed to their limits, left without much choice but to give in, push back, or simply explode.
A high school senior comes home to find her drug-addicted father dead. She always suspected the day would come but it’s here. Now what? Tomas finally meets the girl he’s been chatting with on a social networking app only to find she looks nothing as advertised. In fact, she has a huge scar across the left side of her face that comes with a story that will change both of them forever. A father lets his anger get the best of him and must confront the consequences of faulty, impulsive judgment the best way he can think of: surprising his twin girls during recess. He’s packing sandwiches and a gun.
How do we answer when Desperate Times Call?
Praise for Desperate Times Call
“Hector Duarte Jr. tackles weighty, risky subjects (death and family, love and depravity, lust and madness), and beneath the beautiful, smooth surface of his prose, beneath his wit, beneath his sharp, ironic observations, lies something dark and unwieldy. Yet the stories themselves never feel weighted down, cut with playful energy and brisk honesty, so that it’s hard not to project yourself onto each tale and savor the tragicomedy that gives this book (and life) texture, even as what at first seems familiar and banal becomes strange and uncanny.”
—MJ Fievre, author of A Sky the Color of Chaos
“Hector Duarte’s Desperate Times Call pulls you in close and doesn’t let you go—offering up intimate, violent tales that shed light on desperate, hard-luck people as they grasp and claw at their last glimmers of hope. Duarte’s a name to watch —a rising star of Florida crime fiction.”
—Alex Segura, writer of the acclaimed Pete Fernandez Miami Mystery series
“Desperate Times Call, the dazzling debut short-story collection from Hector Duarte Jr., offers fractured snapshots that highlight the desperate need for human connection, and the powerless people who attempt to seize their moments, only to often fail spectacular. But it’s the effort and desire to be more that inflicts the deepest impression. These are the stories of the lost, the alienated, the dreamer.”
—Joe Clifford, author of Junkie Love and the Jay Porter Thriller Series
“Hector Duarte Jr. constructs an entire world using a minimal amount of words. He writes using all five senses, so we not only see, but hear, touch, taste, and smell his characters navigating the ups and downs of their lives. The tragedy, passion, human connection—the city of Miami—entwine themselves around the reader, pulling you into Duarte’s narrative. That, truly, is an art form.”
—José Ignacio “Chascas” Valenzuela, author of Hashtag and El Filo de tu Piel