The Dead Women of Juárez

The Dead Women of Juárez, by Sam HawkenSince the 1990s, Ciudad Juárez has been a city of violence.  While the drug war has consumed its streets in recent years, prior to that Juárez was known for the unexplained murders of countless women, what came to be known as the feminicidios.  These women, victimized for no apparent reason other than their gender, were raped, tortured, murdered and sometimes mutilated after death.  Suspects were named, and trials were even held, but the feminicidios didn’t stop, and the men the authorities claimed were responsible were possibly scapegoats for crimes they didn’t commit.

In this world of ugliness, expat Kelly Courter makes his way.  An ex-junkie, fled from Texas after an unspeakable act of negligence, Kelly earns money as a sometime drug mule and courier.  He never crosses the border, because he can never face his past.  His best friend is a man who services Americans who party in this border city, and the love of Kelly’s life is his friend’s sister.  When she dies unexpectedly, a victim of the very murderers she swore her life to combat, Kelly’s fate turns black, and no one seems to know the way out.

Rafael Sevilla is a policeman at the end of his career, drinking himself to death in mourning for the wife, daughter and granddaughter he lost.  He finds cause to live in Kelly’s predicament, but the investigation leads him to dark places he’d rather not explore, and malevolent forces he may be unable to defeat.


Nominated for the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasy New Blood Dagger.

“A heartfelt book.” — The Guardian

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

“[Hawken’s] debut novel is 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 powerful and shocking novel.” — Dreda Say Mitchell


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