The Croocked Years (Los años sabandijas)

When embarrassment was never an issue and laws were not an obstacle.

Ruby and Roxy, two swindlers without scruples, escape from the police after stealing two fire extinguishers from the street. These two criminals plan and execute several robberies, including the theft of Sting’s Walkman during a The Police concert, with the only goal of earning easy money to spend on typical youngsters’ fancies. Some other characters will join them: police officers from Negro Durazo and a university student named Lulú. Also, Ruby’s cousin, who organizes fraudulent beauty contests, and a transvestite whose mission is winning the Miss Mexico pageant. Around them, relatives and friends take part in the story as well.

Ruby and Roxanne evolve through the decade and see themselves involved in judicial corruption, as well as planning financial fraud from a pyramid structure that were very common in Mexico during the 80s. The reason why Roxanne goes into this business is so that she can win back the respect and love of Lulú. From 1986 onwards, all the characters are somehow involved in this pyramid, the discovery of the fraud, and the escape and chase of the scammers.

This story happens in a time and place when Mexico was suffering a radical transformation. The society was starting a maturing process that ended in the breaking of the political system: the San Juanico explosion, the big earthquake, the currency devaluation, the football world cup, the elections of 1988, the transition from populism administrating abundance to neoliberal reforms and the promise of joining the first world. The crocked years is full of musical references. It doesn´t live out of nostalgia from the 80s, but it takes us directly to those ten years of that decade in Mexico, being the present for the characters and not a memory.

Thieves, scammers, police officers, corrupt businessmen and politicians, transvestites, prostitutes and smugglers take part in this complex and witty story about how money changes us, usually for worse rather than than for better; about how sometimes family is reliable and sometimes not, or about how friends can be sidekicks or enemies. Through these immoral but vulnerable and empathic characters, who rob, scam and betray, Velasco presents love, friendship and enthusiasm for succeeding in the lives of each of them, who come together via Roxy and Ruby.


RELEVANT DATA: Xavier Velasco has won the Alfaguara Novel Award, after which he became a super bestseller. One of his works has been adapted to TV series by Amazon. He is also a journalist with a long career in Mexico.


What the critics have said:

“With a very well constructed plot (…) the novel is a coral exercise which results in the portray of a period, with a soundtrack, winks to fashion, memories of lost emblematic buildings, or men with earrings: a story that hits the senses permanently” – Julio Patán.


AUDIOVISUAL POTENTIAL: TV Series, Miniseries, Film, TV Movie.


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