Countdown: The Top 31 Norman Partridge Works of Short Fiction–#18

[For the previous countdown post, click here.]

 

18. “Coyotes” (1998)

Amigo, New Mexico, is decidedly unfriendly to outsiders, as evidenced by the opening scene of this story, in which a pair of lawless border patrolmen tie an illegal immigrant to their van’s bumper and drag him to his death. But this is more than a basic tale of racial violence (I don’t want to give too much away, but will mention that the story was first published in an anthology titled The Conspiracy Files). The narrator–animal control officer Roy–is not the most forthright guy, Amigo keeps some sinister secrets, and the titular coyotes signal more than wild-animal roadkill. Throughout his career, Partridge has demonstrated a knack for depicting desert places, but his sunbaked New Mexican setting here just might be his most chilling. “Coyotes” hits the mark for X-Files-type horror, and its conclusion also features a fine echo of Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.”

 

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