Finished November 8
Kilometer 99 by Tyler McMahon
This novel is set in 2001 in El Salvador. Malia is from Hawaii, and after finishing her engineering degree she decided to see a bit of the world through volunteering in the Peace Corps. She has been in El Salvador working on an aqueduct project for the last couple of years. In January 2001, a devasting earthquake hits the country, and Malia's aqueduct is destroyed. After checking out her own home and the aqueduct, she heads inland to find her boyfriend Ben. Ben is also in the Peace Corps, He is from North Carolina and working on an agriculture project. Ben's house is destroyed, but he has not suffered major injuries. However, the emotional impact of the earthquake has Ben urging Malia to pull out of their Peace Corps work, and move forward with their plans to travel into South America surfing the coast as they go.
The two met through their Peace Corps affiliation and their love of surfing. Both have surfing experience from their home states, and the surfing conditions in the popular relaxation spot of La Libertad are good. While their projects have them living in separate villages at a distance from each other, they often meet up for weekends and holidays at La Libertad to surf.
Just after they resign from their Peace Corps work they are approached by another American, one who has plans for a resort at another surf spot nearby, Kilometer 99. We only know this man by the nickname he has been given locally, Pelochucho. A local crackhead and former surfer gives out nicknames for money. Malia is known as Chinita, and Ben as Chuck Norris. Malia isn't sure of the new American, but Ben convinces her that the money they get from the short-term work they will do for him will be very helpful for their travels, and won't delay their trip by much.
It is at this time that things start to fall apart. People get hurt, money and documents go missing, and bad decisions are made.
A good novel with an interesting storyline.