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From the Publisher
The year is 1978. Ares Ramirez, age 12, lives with his mother,
Laurel, and his younger brother Malcolm in a trailer at the edge of
the Salton Sea, an unintentionally man-made body of water in the
middle of the Southern California desert. It is a desolate,
forgotten place, whose inhabitants thrive amidst seemingly
Where birds fly by day across the desert sky, by night government
fighter planes and helicopters make training runs using live
ammunition, and an anonymous dead body floats in from the sea.
These events inspire Ares, on the cusp of his adolescence, to enact
elaborate fantasies of mortal combat. His membership in a troubled
family marks Ares as a casualty of a different kind of war.
Malcolm, age 7, is mentally handicapped, and his mother chooses not
to do anything about it.
Ares'' struggle with the burden of responsibility -- to himself
and to others -- draws him into a world of drugs, violence, and sex
that he is not prepared for, launching him into a very personal
battle for his own identity, one that has a lethal outcome.