You are about to drink a Tequila Sunset, the glass is half empty!
Sam Hawkens latest novel takes us back to the borderline cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. Two cities, divided only by a river and a man-made border. Otherwise they could easily be one big melting pot. Two cities, two countries, one problem – the famous War on Drugs.
This is the story of three people getting involved in this war. Their lives are connected to one another, voluntarily and involuntarily.
First we got Flip, he just got out of prison, heading back to his mother’s house in El Paso. He’s going back to being her kid, living under her roof. And that’s not always easy. Good thing though, that her new boyfriend offers Flip a job in a local warehouse. So a least he’s got something to do, to show to his probation officer and makes some money of his own.
While he was in prison he got entangled with a latino-gang named Barrio Azteca, which is not only a prison gang, they do also operate in El Paso. Bad thing for him: you’re an Azteca for life, no matter what.
So when is just settling in with his new job, José Martinez shows up, the local frontman of Barrio Azteca, and offers to introduce him around, make him known to everybody, since they heard good things about him from the prison-gang. Obviously there’s more to that, than just being friendly.
Martinez is planning to start a huge operation of getting weapons into Mexico and drugs into the States.
What they do not know is, that Flip was spying on gang-members inside and offers to do the same, as soon as he is out. He just wants to do the right thing, is what he says. His contact in the local police department is Cristina Salas, single mother and member of the gang-crime unit.
Salas and her partner Robinson are into an investigation to bring down José Martinez. This operation gets even bigger, as soon as the FBI and other organisation try to take over this operation. More and more people get involved and Salas and Robinson have to reveal their inside informant Flip.
On the other side of the border we see police officer Matías Segura observing one crime scene after another. South of the border this so-called War on Drugs is actually a real war. People are getting murdered and Los Aztecas, a Barrio-Azteca-Offspring are practically in control of Ciudad Juárez.
As the big FBI-operation to bring down Martinez gains speed, Flip finds himself just in the middle of the two parties. He is ordered to spy out Martinez‘ plan and report to Salas and Robinson.
Flip tries to stay out of trouble, but just falls from one snakepit into the other. Salas and her partner are trying to protect Flip – against Barrio Azteca and also against becoming collateral damage of the FBI-operation. Matías is trying to protect his family and his integrity and in the end, everybody is just trying to protect themselves. Everybody just tries to do the right thing, find their own pursuit of happiness. And in the end it will not be going well for all of them.
Hawken shows us the plain face of a civil war happening right now. And guess what, another war to satisfy the needs of western society, in this case drugs. There is little hope, that it is going to end any time soon and especially for everybody living on the southern side of the border, the glass is more likely to be half empty than half full.
After the extraordinary good novel ‚The dead woman of Juárez‘ Sam Hawken keeps up his high level of writing and regards us with this thrilling new book, packed with hard-shaped and fascinating characters. A story about bravery, righteousness and of course – love. You’d have missed that!
Erschienen bei Serpent’s Tail, September 2012
359 Seiten, kartoniert
ca. € 15,00
P.S. Hier findet ihr meine Besprechung zum Vorgänger ‚Die toten Frauen von Juárez‚.
P.S.S. This is actually my first book review in english, so excuse me if it appears a little stumbeling…