23-year-old Billy Maddox is returning to Arizona's international border where his brother was killed in a shootout between drug smugglers and Border Patrol agents 15 years ago. Now a newly minted line agent himself, Billy is on the verge of divorce and this job is his last chance to make things right with his wife who struggles with his bouts of anger and unstable job history. Shocked by their son’s death, Billy's parents largely abandoned their obligations to raise their remaining son well. With an as-yet unexpressed family grief still upon him, Billy struggles at school and finds lack of success in the workforce. He is a good man who wants to do right but personal history works hard against him. And now he is about to return to the desert landscape where things first started to go wrong. Can he finally find the way forward and save himself and his marriage?
Billy Maddox, a 23-year-old Border Patrol agent in Tucson, Arizona, hails from a ranching family that lost a young son (Billy’s brother) to violence on the border years ago. Raised by emotionally shattered parents, Billy struggles during his upbringing.
By the time readers meet Billy as a young line agent seeking a fresh start, he carries a history of behavioral and anger management problems. His wife Jessie Duncan, with whom Billy shares a young son, has told him that if this job doesn’t work out, she will leave him.
It is also 1999 and the Border Patrol has launched Operation Safeguard across Arizona’s border region in response to a rising tide of illegal border crossings and drug trafficking. More new Border Patrol agents and deterrence technologies have been deployed and more resources are available to border enforcement than ever before.
Driven by his father’s xenophobic hatred of Mexicans and the desire to save his ailing marriage, Billy expects to commit to preventing anyone from crossing illegally into the United States. But when he finds the veteran agent responsible for training him is not only well-respected by his colleagues but also compassionate toward those south of the border, Billy realizes he finally has a chance to experience the sadness about his brother’s death and come out as a stronger man.
Billy Maddox Takes His Shot tells the story of a young man who daily faces desperation among the migrants and drug traffickers who cross the saguaro plains of the Sonoran Desert. Billy’s journey, he discovers, is not different but only a mirror one filled with danger, determination, and hope.
Billy Maddox Takes His Shot is also the first novel in the forthcoming Maddox Men Series, a collection of literary novels and novellas, which recounts the history of multiple generations of the Maddox family men dating from the late 19th century to the present.