The Illegal Man

Front Cover
Speaking Volumes - Fiction - 249 pages
0 Reviews
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified

Spur Award-Winning Author

A story that could have come out of today’s headlines, this revised edition of the acclaimed novel explores a Mexican national’s desperate attempt to provide for his family. Ricardo has known only poverty in Mexico, but he dreams of a better life in the United States. He enlists a “coyote” to smuggle him across the Rio Grande, a river that separates not only one nation from another, but one world from another.

The Illegal Man is also the story of Ann Rawlings, a recent widow struggling to preserve her West Texas ranch. There is a troubled Border Patrolman and her bigoted foreman, who considers Mexican ranch hands to be little more than animals. For Ricardo, it’s a world in which he will suffer hardship and indignity, but one he will gladly endure to support his family.

The Illegal Man grew out of a newspaper series by Patrick Dearen, who interviewed Mexican and American officials and accompanied Border Patrolmen along the Rio Grande. He based his character Ricardo on an actual Mexican national he interviewed on a West Texas ranch.

“A warm, gripping novel that explores a subject of intense interest to all Americans. Wonderfully told, this novel should endure.” —Norman Zollinger, two-time Spur Award winner.

“A vivid description of what a common man goes through seeking work in a different country than his own. It is a powerful story filled with adventure, sadness, persecution, and loneliness.” —San Angelo (Texas) Standard-Times.

“Dearen's writing is so perfect, so descriptive, so charged with emotion, it sucks the reader into the very marrow of the story. . . Stretches the mind and the heart as the good and the bad in life play out on its pages . . . It is a good story: a story of love, of justice, and of redemption.” —Permian Historical Annual.

“A beautifully written story that speaks eloquently.” —Roundup Magazine.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Selected pages


Chapter Three
Chapter Five
Chapter Seven
Chapter Nine
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter TwentyTwo
Chapter TwentyFour
Chapter TwentySix

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author

The author of twenty-six books, Patrick Dearen is a former award-winning reporter for two West Texas daily newspapers. As a nonfiction writer, Dearen has produced books such as A Cowboy of the Pecos; Saddling Up Anyway: The Dangerous Lives of Old-Time Cowboys; and Castle Gap and the Pecos Frontier, Revisited. His research has led to sixteen novels, including The Big Drift, winner of the Spur Award of Western Writers of America and the Peacemaker Award of Western Fictioneers. His other western-themed novels include When Cowboys Die (a Spur Award finalist); The End of Nowhere; The Illegal Man; To Hell or the Pecos; and Perseverance. His novels Apache Lament and Dead Man’s Boot both received the Elmer Kelton Award from the Academy of Western Artists.

A ragtime pianist and wilderness enthusiast, Dearen lives with his wife in Texas.

Bibliographic information