Author: Sam Hawken, 2012.
Genre: Crime Thriller. Police Procedural. Drugs.
Other Details: Paperback. 359 pages.
El Paso and Ciudad Juárez sit across the Texas /Mexico border from each other. They share streets, industry, crime. One gang claims territory in both: Los Aztecas.. - from back cover.
This was a solid police procedural set jointly in El Paso, Texas and Juárez, Mexico and chronicling the work of a joint task force that is seeking to take down a drug ring run by the Los Aztecas gang. The task force are being aided in this by Felipe (Flip) Morales, a young gang member who has turned C.I. for his own reasons.
The format was comprised of short, pacey chapters that alternated between Flip, El Paso detective Cristina Salas, who is balancing her work with the anti-gang unit with the demands of single motherhood, and Mexican federal agent Matías Segura. I felt these characters were all well rounded and that Hawken had created a sense of real threat against them.
While this is a work of fiction it should be noted that the Los Aztecas do exist and this serious note underlines the novel, which does not glamorize the gangs but rather champions the work of law enforcement on both sides of the border as well as the overwhelming nature of the task they are undertaking and the dangers involved.
Tequila Sunrise proved a quick, easy read and I could appreciate why it had been long-listed for the UK Crime Writers Association 2013 Golden Dagger. A selection of the nominated titles was made available to the library reading group I attend as an optional book alongside our April selection. So rather than discuss this and the other crime titles we will be sharing our individual responses with the group. I certainly will be giving it a 'thumbs up'.
Just to note that Tequila Sunset is due to be published in the USA in June 2014.