Charles O’Connell is riding an epic losing streak. Having worked in politics since college, he is used to losing races, but he never imagined that his most recent candidate would end up in jail and that he would also need an attorney. His euphoria at not joining his boss in prison is short-lived—no one will hire him now, his credit cards are maxed out and his marriage is on the rocks.
An unexpected offer to work in Santa Fe, New Mexico, doing public relations for a firm building the city’s new airport feels like an opportunity to start fresh and make connections with powerful people out west. But when the construction crew unearths a skeleton, Charles’ fresh start turns into another disaster. Soon, a group of Apache claims the site holds Geronimo’s secret grave.
Charles quickly realizes everyone has an agenda—and numerous dark secrets threaten to erupt. Gabriel Luna, one of the laborers present when the skeleton is unearthed, is willing to do just about anything to reconnect with his teenage son. Cody Branch, an ambitious, powerful millionaire, plans to leverage the deal to enrich himself. And there’s his wife, Olivia Branch, who has a surprising connection to Charles’ past and desperately needs his help.
Surrounded by deception on all fronts, including his own lies to himself and his wife, Charles falls into a whirlwind of fraud, betrayal and double crosses. This riveting novel barrels through the New Mexican landscape in an exploration of innocence and guilt, power and wealth, and the search for love and happiness.
“Boasting a nicely understated comedic tone, Santos’ first novel deftly draws the reader into the machinations of its plot.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The pages turn like those of a John Grisham novel. Another fascinating contemporary literary work set in the deserts of New Mexico. Whether you’re seeking escapism or illumination, it’s the ideal book to read this election year.”—The Texas Observer
“Trust Me pulses with intrigue, thrills and distinctive humor, all while remaining vividly rooted in the landscapes, cultures and complexities of the American Southwest. Santos’ writing is as bright as the New Mexico sunshine.”—Francisco Cantú, author of The Line Becomes a River
“Santos conjures a vibrant, vivid New Mexico full of menace, dark humor, false fronts, mutable histories, regrets, wild hopes, caches of gold just out of reach and characters who—to the reader’s great benefit—just can’t get out of their own damn way. A high-velocity, compulsively readable novel that crackles with energy, narrative drive and its author’s unmistakable joy in storytelling. A hell of a debut.”—Doug Dorst, New York Times bestselling author of S. and Alive in Necropolis
“A multi-tentacled, cinematic debut that will pull you into its winding labyrinth.”—Fernando A. Flores, author of Tears of the Trufflepig
“White men scheming to build an airport on tribal land, Santa Fe’s art scene, Apaches represented by an attorney, what’s up with Geronimo’s ghost and where precisely is he buried – Richard Santos’ debut novel has the anarchic energy and slick characters you’d expect to find in a tale told by Elmore Leonard. Trust Me offers every reader a fun ride. My advice is: take it.”—Tom Grimes, author of Mentor, a Memoir
“Best debut I’ve seen in about forever, best New Mexico novel I’ve read in a good while, far and away the best airport novel I’ve ever read, and not even close to the last Richard Santos I’ll be reading.”—Stephen Graham Jones, author of Mongrels and The Only Good Indians
“Richard Santos has written an extraordinary story with great craft and an exquisite use of language in this, his first book. It reads like a breath of fresh air after living in a stifling box of recycled themes and tired tropes, and will hopefully mark a shift for the future of American Latino literature.”—Domingo Martinez, author of The Boy Kings of Texas, National Book Award Finalist
“With crisp, cinematic dialogue and insight into all that’s duplicitous and corrupt (and juicy and thrilling), Santos kept me turning the pages late into the night.”—Dina Nayeri, author of The Ungrateful Refugee and A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea
“A story that sinks its teeth into a crooked land development deal in New Mexico with reverberations all the way to the seats of national power. This is great, tense writing.”—Michael Noll, author of The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction
“Trust Me is a suspenseful and thoroughly enjoyable novel that explores the themes of betrayal, deceit, redemption and cultural collision in modern-day New Mexico. Santos draws on his own political background to create a web of manipulation and intrigue that ensnares his characters in a world in which trust itself becomes dangerously suspect. Even the New Mexico landscape, which Santos carefully paints, seems to hold its eerie and misleading secrets.”—Tim O’Brien, National Book Award-winning author of Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried
“An earth-shattering meditation on new beginnings, happiness and the dark complications that sometimes arise. Richard Santos is a masterful storyteller. The small moments in his characters’ lives matter just as much as the big ones; they contain entire worlds that tell us about the best parts of ourselves, the worst parts of ourselves.”—Daniel Peña, author of Bang
“A gripping novel with layers of political intrigue, class exploration, love, land and redemption. Santos’ searing debut keeps the pages turning and the guesses coming.”—Lara Prescott, New York Times bestselling author of The Secrets We Kept
“Trust Me is a nimble blend of high-desert political thriller, noir and crime drama. The plot, folded tightly with twists and revelations, never veers far from its vivid and layered characters—reckless oil barons and unsavory political operatives, powerful single moms and redemption-seeking deadbeat dads, ambitious artists and weary veterans—characters who, in Santos’generous hands, glow with warmth and need and life, who risk everything they’ve got in end-of-the-line attempts to become who they believe themselves to be. An engrossing and insightful debut from a truly exciting talent.”—Joseph Scapellato, author of The Made-Up Man and Big Lonesome