QUEEN OF THE SOUTH, by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Normally, the epic tale of the fortunes of a Mexican drug empress wouldn’t find much favor with me, but this prize-winning Spanish author had me hooked in the first ten pages. Teresa Mendoza, girlfriend of a daredevil drug-smuggler, must flee when her lover is murdered during a drug run. Mexican drug culture required the death of the victim’s entire family down to the children, and Teresa is at the top of the clean-up list. In Spain, where she hides out, she is imprisoned and her cell-mate is a wealthy accessory to murder that has a powerful secret. The rest of this lengthy, dense story will keep you up nights, right to the violent ending. Not for the very faint of heart, but the impeccable quality of the writing, the story line, the depth of knowledge of this shadowy world we think we know about, all will keep you on the edge of your seat. A 5. And don't miss Perez-Reverte's historical tales, reviewed in other posts on this blog.