Jeffrey Zuckerman at The Quarterly Conversation:
Sentences that soar and sink, that resemble journeys, that hint at being “nowhere near here”: this is the strange magic that Yuri Herrera’s three short novels—Signs Preceding the End of the World, The Transmigration of Bodies, and now Kingdom Cons—offers his readers as they wend through realms of dispossessed peoples, where law and order have been disordered and every character is seemingly at the mercy of all the others. The wilderness of Herrera’s prose is thoroughly intentional; it mirrors the world it describes, a world of “smug cut grass” and “walls dripping with dark sweat.” But there is an undeniable beauty to the King’s court of Kingdom Cons, where Lobo momentarily believes he has been welcomed into a paradise.
It is a paradise that Herrera’s readers might well expect. Throughout these three volumes, particular details have hinted at a mythos akin to Dante’s Divine Comedy. And just as “the private little inferno” mentioned on the first page of The Transmigration of Bodies points toward the book’s positioning within the trilogy, so does the border-crossing theme of Signs Preceding the End of the World render visible Herrera’s vision of purgatory. The paradise proposed in Kingdom Cons, though, is grittier than the transcendent one that Dante envisioned, and the Girl granted to the Artist is no Beatrice. People still die here, often in gruesome ways, and the King himself is not immune to the outside forces that subsequently force the Artist back out into the real world and into his old persona.