Tequila Sunset is the second book by Sam Hawken, author of The Dead Women of Juárez, from respected publisher Serpent’s Tail. As with The Dead Women before it, Tequila Sunset has attracted critical praise from readers and media outlets alike, being nominated for the Crime Writers Association 2013 Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year.
A paperback bestseller in the UK!
“Hawken’s understated but razor sharp prose never gets in the way of the building tension…Powerful stuff.” — Booklist
“Hawken doesn’t hit a false note.” — Publishers Weekly
“Authentically crafted and exquisitely written. One of the finest crime novels this year.” — The New York Journal of Books
“Haunting… recalls the best of James M. Cain.” — Financial Times
“The intrigue is stepped up with each page and the reader is further engaged with each of the main characters and the subplots” — Charlie Stella
El Paso and Ciudad Juárez sit across the Texas / Mexico border from each other. They share streets, share industry, share crime. One gang claims territory in both: Barrio Azteca. This single criminal organization is responsible for most of the homicides committed in Juárez, and Felipe Morales is one of them. Recruited in prison, and now on the streets of El Paso, “Flip” has no choice but to step further into that world, but he has a secret that threatens his life. A witness to murder and intimidation, he tries playing both the cops and the outlaws in a bid to escape. On the American side, El Paso detective Cristina Salas struggles to balance the needs of single motherhood with those of life in the city’s anti-gang unit. When her path crosses with Flip, their relationship will spell the difference between a life behind bars for the young gang member, a grisly death or freedom. Meanwhile, Mexican federal agent, Matías Segura, must contend with the scourge of Los Aztecas while coordinating a long-term operation with the American authorities. The Aztecas, north and south, stand in the way of three lives. They have no qualms about crossing the line, about killing, about moving their deadly product, and it all comes together in a confrontation where the stakes are, truly, a matter of life and death.
In the summer it was hot, in the winter it was cold and all year round the halls and cells of Coffield Unit were busy with the business of incarceration. This day it was not so bad, teetering between two extremes. The ceiling-mounted fans did not turn and the big heating units that blew and blew, but did little chase away the chill, were silent.
Flip lined up with the convicts, dressed in their white cotton uniforms, waiting for the COs to open the door and let them out onto the yard. Barred windows let in sunshine to compete with sallow fluorescents. It would be good to be outside.
When the door opened the COs counted them off. Already they had been counted before getting into line and they would be counted again when it was time to go back inside. Counting was a constant and if ever the numbers didn’t jibe everything stopped.
They went out mixed, but as the cons distributed into the yard they broke into their component parts. White boys congregated by the weight pile, blacks by the half-court basketball blacktop and the Latinos by the handball court. Within each division were individual cliques, but the most important grouping was by race. The colors approached one another’s domains only when certain dictates had been observed. In this way the facilities could be shared without it coming to blows.
For more information on Tequila Sunset, check out the blog.