Ito Romo’s collection of short stories, The Border is Burning is a superb and painful read. But it is the kind of pain that is necessary and compelling in a book set in a landscape fraught with peril. The stories are set along and across the border between the United States and Mexico. The border is real and omnipresent throughout the book—characters cross back and forth to score cheap booze, prescription drugs, and to ferry cocaine in belts and shoes. No character on either side of the border is spared Romo’s tough but honest treatment.