Selected Publications:






“The adroit characterizations and alternating points of view advance a memorable narrative about overlooked populations in America that are victimized by drug smuggling. Peña examines the symbiosis of the United States and Mexico and makes painfully clear the negative effects of international trade—legal and illegal. This is a notable and compassionate novel.”—Publishers Weekly

“Peña provides a window into the struggles of immigrants on the border as well as the violent drug war fueling the migration. A piercing tale of lives broken by border violence.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Bang is such a timely novel that offers devastating insights into how communities adapt to severe shifts in culture and society.”—NBC Latino

“Daniel Peña’s debut novel reminds me of a bantamweight boxer. Lean and compact, it is packed with energy, ready to land blow after punch after jab on any reader who dares to underestimate it.”—Texas Observer

“Peña uses his prodigious gift for detail to take us inside the horrors that befall this family as a result of the fateful flight that started as a dare between brothers. Bang is a grim yet gripping debut that hinges on the desperate hope of its characters.”—Austin American-Statesman

“Peña’s character development makes them as believable as your next-door neighbor. More importantly, Peña develops his story with a sense of magical realism used expertly by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez and other Latino authors. Peña weaves a bizarre and dreamlike story that will captivate the reader and create thoughts of empathy and hopes for a good ending in response to the horrific sequence of events that envelopes the family. The reader will be hypnotized by Peña’s words.”—Corpus Christi Caller-Times

“A riveting exploration of a family caught in turmoil. [Peña does] an incredible job of capturing the state of fear that accompanies being undocumented.”—Chicago Review of Books

“Drug trafficking is real and it is heartless. I imagine Bang capable of igniting that same realization in the hearts of others who might have decided it acceptable to ignore. Despite the brutality and bleak inescapability I have been stressing, [it] is an honest and sympathetic novel concerning a family that has been torn apart.”—Hunger Mountain

“All the more impressive when considering that [this] is author Daniel Pena’s debut novel, what the reader is given is an inherently fascinating and vividly portrayed story revealing the impact of international drug smuggling on the innocent…Exceptionally well written from first page to last, Bang is unreservedly recommended.”—Midwest Book Review

“Daniel Peña wrote a wonderful novel that is not about showing us yet again the drug-dealing world. It’s a book that carves deep into our pain, that talks about the burden of our origins.”—The Quarterly Conversation



The Guardian


NBC News

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Chicago Review of Books

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Houston Public Media

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