Most of us have experiences in life we wish we could forget, or did because of alcohol-induced blankness. Austin calls these ‘bad tequila’ moments, as imbibing in that particular libation seems to have more bad consequences than others. This novel, loosely based on his real-life experiences—or those he can remember anyway—is his ‘bad tequila’ moment.
When a young jock on a college football team is cut and down-on-his luck, he is given the opportunity to travel to Mexico with a group of students and take a moment to reflect on his recent bad luck, or to get totally wasted while brooding over his own stupidity. He takes it. Life is grand, not a care in the world, white beaches, surf’s up and pretty woman and alcohol are on the menu.
When tragedy strikes and a motor vehicle accident kills several members of their party, the close-knit group unravels. Rico and Tina, at one moment considering young love, suddenly turn on each other and Rico drowns his sorrows with tequila. The next day when it is time to leave, Tina has vanished. When he arrives back in the States, Rico finds himself under arrest for the murder of Tina. Her father, a US Senator, is baying for his blood, his friends from the trip are all turning evidence against him and by the end of it Rico finds himself in jail facing five long years on a trumped up manslaughter charge.
Rico takes the time to reverse his ‘bad tequila’ moment and rebuild his life, creating a successful life after his prison sentence, until one fateful journey leads him back to San Carlos and the scene of the crime. Faced with his past, he begins drinking again. With a surprise ending, Austin takes us on rough-hewn journey on his debut novel, a 2011 Readers Favorite award winner.