The Dead Women of Juárez, by Sam HawkenThe Dead Women of Juárez is the debut novel of author Sam Hawken. Shortlisted for a Crime Writers Association New Blood Dagger Award and by Spinetingler Magazine in its “Best Writer: New Voice” category, the novel received critical praise from newspapers and readers alike.

Some praise for the novel:

“A hard-boiled plunge into damaged lives that grippingly evokes the dust, decay, and pervading sense of death in Juárez, leaving you with a lingering sense of sweaty unease.” — Metro

“A beautiful, compassionate, gruelling novel, as ferocious to read as it is soul-wrenching…This book will haunt you for a long, long time” — Ken Bruen

“A tense, gripping read and a plea for justice” — Sunday Times

The story:

Since 1993 almost five hundred women have been murdered in Ciudad, Juárez. Locals believe the true number stands at five thousand.

When a new disappearance is reported, Kelly Courter, a washed-up Texan boxer, and Rafael Sevilla, a Mexican detective, are sucked into an underworld of organized crime, believing they can outwit the corruption all around. The Dead Women of Juárez follows these two men obsessed with seeking the truth about the female victims of the Mexican border wars.

An excerpt:

Roger Kahn wrote, “Boxing is smoky halls and kidneys battered until they bleed,” but in Mexico everything bled in the ring. And there was also pain.

When Kelly Courter fought in the States he was a welterweight, but he didn’t fight Stateside anymore and he was heavier. No amount of sweating and starving would take him out of the middleweight class now. This mattered little to the man who paid the purse. If pressed he would call these catchweight fights, but they were really just demolition without a weigh in or any formality beyond money changing hands.

The Mexican kid was leaner and harder than Kelly, and that was the point; Kelly was here to be the kid’s punching bag. Mexicans liked to see La Raza get one over on a white guy. It was twice as good if the white guy came from Texas like Kelly did.

They circled. Kelly’s blood was on the canvas because he was gashed over the right eye and his nose was dripping. Vidal, the cut man working Kelly’s corner, wasn’t much for adrenaline and pressure alone couldn’t stop the leaking. The crowd wanted to see the bolillo bleed anyway.

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