The Year of the Mad Jag

Arizona, 1980: a traveler from ‘across the pond’ falls in with a ragtag gang of marijuana growers and soon finds himself in a remote canyon terrorized by a huge cat: a jaguar strayed north from Mexico. Before long, he is heading south across the border, into a criminal underworld far more ruthless than the harmless rebels he’s left behind. Along for the ride is magnetic, contradictory Emma: his blessing and curse, his angel and demon.

From high-jinks to high tension, from delirium to disaster, The Year of the Mad Jag rollicks through a more innocent time, when, even so, the stakes were life and death, love and heartbreak. With his roller-coaster storytelling, love of language, and deep connection to the natural world, Jonathan Slator takes his place alongside Edward Abbey, Thomas McGuane, and Hunter S. Thompson as a classic writer of the counterculture West.

The Year of the Mad Jag was a semifinalist in both the 2017 William Faulkner, William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, 2017, and the 2018 Elixir Press Fiction Competition.

Download the first four chapters of the book here:

The Year of the Mad Jag

If you read and, hopefully enjoy, the novel you can see some of the people on whom I based the characters in the photographs below. The names in the captions match those used in the novel to protect both the guilty and the innocent.

Photo Galleries

Mad Jag Canyon part 1

Mad Jag Canyon part 2

Jerome & Verde Valley

In the Canyons

Mexico Xmas: Jonny Pam Baja

Mexico Xmas: Gang Celebrates in Baja