I wasn’t sure about this book to begin with. Although I was moved by headlines about the misery endured by Mexican migrants struggling to cross the border with the US, I worried that we were in for finger-waving, politicised polemic on the evils of Uncle Sam, and, more specifically, Trumpism.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. This is a rip-roaring, fast-delivery, seat-of-the-pants piece of searing, thrilling, evocative writing. I was held in its grip from the first page to the last. If I needed blood-pressure tablets, the first chapter alone would have had me reaching for them. Its second-by-second description of a bloody slaughter at a family barbecue – the assassins a ruthless Mexican drugs cartel; the victims a crusading journalist and his family – is a jaw-dropper. And things just get more electrifying from there.
This is the story of a good and enormously brave mother on the run with her beautiful boy. Lydia and her eight-year-old son Luca are the sole survivors of an attack on their family. They have been wiped out with automatic weapons wielded by mobsters in beautiful Acapulco. And when the local police arrive, Lydia decides they cannot be trusted: many officers are clearly in the pockets of the cartel.
So, she and Luca head north for the US and, she hopes, refuge with family living there. Their journey is hazardous; their ambition to cross the border in doubt. And all the time, Lydia reflects on her bizarre relationship with the head of the cartel that murdered her husband and family.
A tremendous read.