Felina's Spell

NEW YORK — Border Patrol Agent-to-be Layne Sheppard has met the girl of his dreams as The Delta Tango Trilogy continues with Book Two: “Felina’s Spell,” released by Morgan James Publishing and available in stores and online now.

The question to be answered is: Can Layne make the grade as a full-fledged border agent in southern Arizona and win the love of Felina Camarena Rivera? Or will he meet his demise in the field training gauntlet that awaits? Will his serious drinking problem undermine all that he is pursuing? Is their relationship destined or doomed?

Prize-winning author Margaret Coel has called The Delta Tango Trilogy, by the late Christopher LaGrone, “essential and gripping.”

After reading “Felina’s Spell” and its companion novels, Coel also commented: “The Delta Tango Trilogy is a heartbreakingly honest tale of the lives that intersect and are forever changed along our bleak and dangerous southern border.”

Once a Border Patrol agent himself, LaGrone drew on his own experiences as a recruit, field trainee and border agent to create a border saga unlike any previously published immigration-themed novel. What distinguishes it, as Felina’s Spell shows so well, is that it looks at border enforcement from the perspective of the line agent, humanizing it in ways not previously portrayed.

The trilogy will be completed when Book 3: “Moments of Truth” is released in December.

LaGrone died of altitude sickness in the Andes in December 2018.

A native Coloradan, LaGrone pursued his goal of becoming a published author after service as a U.S. Border Patrol agent in southern Arizona, the setting for The Delta Tango Trilogy. He died unexpectedly at age 41 while climbing. His mother, Sherryl LaGrone of Mesa, is fulfilling her son’s dream by publishing his books.

LaGrone began his career with the Border Patrol in 2007 when he attended training in Artesia, New Mexico. After graduation from the program, he was assigned to the Douglas Station, where he worked for several years.

“I believe the least favorite part of being an agent for Chris was the daily conflict between doing the job you are required to do and having deep compassion for most of those who you are responsible for apprehending. I believe Chris valued his friendships and colleagues at his station and the team environment of the Border Patrol,” his mother said.

But his dream was always to become a published author, she said.

The former agent-turned fiction writer was living in Cusco, Peru, and studying Spanish and culture when he died.

“He had finished his last Spanish class in Lima, Peru, flew to Cusco to prepare for his tour to Machu Picchu and it is estimated he died approximately 24 hours after landing. At the time of his death, he was near completion of the ‘Delta Tango Trilogy,’” Sherryl LaGrone said in 2020.

He had grown up in a family of teachers and coaches, according to his mother.

“Chris was a natural athlete, playing football and baseball. In high school he focused on baseball, played on a state championship team as the right fielder at Arvada West High School in Arvada, Colorado. He earned a scholarship to Seward County Junior College in Liberal, Kansas, where he played for two years,” she said.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing from Metropolitan State University in Denver.

He lived in Tucson until 2014 and enjoyed hunting birds, antelope, deer and elk with his father and was “an expert marksman and hunted regularly,” his mother said.

He also enjoyed lifting weights and, when he lived in Colorado, ran a business in which he coached teens in their weightlifting pursuits.