Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-10-26
- Reviewer: Staff
Investigative journalist Grillo (El Narco) presents a comprehensive, if grim, look at four major organized crime groups Mexicos Knights Templar, Central Americas Mara Salvatrucha, Jamaicas Shower Posse, and Brazils Red Commandoand the men who run them. Few readers will be familiar with the cartels, despite the international scope of their reach and the bloody toll of their violence, which makes this account all the more shocking. Grillo describes the leaders as a weird hybrid of criminal CEO, gangster rock star, and paramilitary general and enlivens his characterizations with horrifying statistics: for example, between 2007 and 2014, more than 80,000 people were killed in Mexico by drug cartels and the police forces opposing them. Historical context, such as a survey of Jamaican political and criminal history in the last 50 years, gives depth to the narrative. Sadly, the logical solutions Grillo offers on drug policy reform, including a huge overhaul in the police and justice systems in Latin America, are not likely to be implemented anytime soon, so his attempt to end this otherwise harrowing account on hopeful note seems contrived. (Jan.)