November 23, 2012 6:30 pm

Grim fascination

A double agent operates in a fatalistic world defined by accidents of geography and nationality

Tequila Sunset, by Sam Hawken, Serpent’s Tail, RRP£11.99, 352 pages

 

Although near neighbours, the cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez couldn’t be more different: the former is the safest in the US; the latter one of Mexico’s most violent. What they share is a gang, Los Aztecas, trading guns and drugs in both places.

More

IN Fiction

Flip steps out of prison in El Paso and reluctantly resumes a career that can only escalate into violence. When he meets Cristina, a single mother working in the anti-gang unit, it’s clear that his decision to become a double agent could change his life, but a Mexican federal agent with his own agenda will precipitate a tragedy.

After his gritty debut, The Dead Women of Juárez, Hawken delivers another bleak, haunting novel. Flip operates in a fatalistic world defined by accidents of geography and nationality, and this thriller recalls the best of James M. Cain. While the bloody outcome is hardly unexpected, there’s a grim fascination in seeing how the two sides deal with it.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2014. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.