Aztec author visits past with history novel

by Lainie Fraser, Staff Writer

David Caraccio is a San Diego State alumnus who recently published his first novel “Tiburcio! Love, crime and rebellion in early California.”

Caraccio has been a journalist for 25 years. He is currently an online news editor for The Sacramento Bee and lives in the Sacramento area.

“I can’t remember a time when I haven’t wanted to be a novelist,” Caraccio said. “Story lines are constantly filling my mind and I like to observe people and places. I finished my first novel at age 24, but it wasn’t published. I enjoy the solitude of sitting down and writing. Working at the Bee keeps my writing skills honed and provides me with potential material for a book.”

Residing in the same area of California as the main character provided inspiration for Caraccio and the ability to further embellish the story of Tiburcio Vasquez. Tiburcio Vasquez was an outlaw determined to return California to Mexican control. In 1875 at the age of 39, following a violent and far-reaching career, Vasquez was convicted and sentenced to hang for murder.

“I could not have written this book without being native to California. That Wild West history is kind of in all of us and being able to travel to and live in the same places where the novel unfolds was significant to getting the setting and the mood right,” Caraccio said..

With the hope of stirring up interest in the cultural issues of Tiburcio Vasquez’s time, Caraccio displays how these issues still plague us today.

“I find the connections between the novel’s setting and today’s current events fascinating,” Caraccio said. “I would love to have seen Tiburcio’s reaction to the resurgence of Hispanic culture in California today. I think he would be happy for the most part.”

While this is his first published novel, Caraccio has been writing for many years. He began his work with The Daily Aztec and has plans for the future.

“I realized I had better make a living before I starved trying to write a novel,” Caraccio said. “SDSU’s journalism department and The Daily Aztec gave me the skills: news judgment, interviewing techniques, telling a balanced story and meeting deadlines, to do that. I have a novel idea based on those days at SDSU that I hope to write soon.”

“Tiburcio! Love, crime and rebellion in early California” is now available for purchase on and at Barnes and Noble.