What s it like to be an employee of a global drug-trafficking organization? And how does a fifteen-year-old American boy go from star quarterback to trained assassin, surging up the cartel corporate ladder? Read more...
What s it like to be an employee of a global drug-trafficking organization? And how does a fifteen-year-old American boy go from star quarterback to trained assassin, surging up the cartel corporate ladder?
At first glance, Gabriel Cardona is the poster boy American teenager: great athlete, bright, handsome, and charismatic. But the streets of his border town of Laredo, Texas, are poor and dangerous, and it isn t long before Gabriel abandons his promising future for the allure of the Zetas, a drug cartel with roots in the Mexican military. His younger friend Bart, as well as others from Gabriel s childhood, join him in working for the Zetas, boosting cars and smuggling drugs, eventually catching the eye of the cartel s leadership.
Meanwhile, Mexican-born Detective Robert Garcia has worked hard all his life and is now struggling to raise his family in America. As violence spills over the border, Detective Garcia s pursuit of the boys, and their cartel leaders, puts him face to face with the urgent consequences of a war he sees as unwinnable.
In Wolf Boys Dan Slater shares their stories, taking us from the Sierra Madre mountaintops to the dusty, dark alleys of Laredo, Texas, on a harrowing, often brutal journey into the heart of the Mexican drug trade. Gabriel s evolution from good-natured teenager into a feared assassin is as inevitable as Garcia s slow realization of the futile nature of his work. A nonfiction thriller, Wolf Boys depicts more than just Gabriel, Bart, and the officers who took them down. It shows, through vivid detail and rich, often moving, narrative, the way in which the border itself is changing, disappearing, and posing new, terrifying, and yet largely unseen threats to American security. Ultimately though, Wolf Boys is the intimate story of the lobos themselves: boys turned into pawns for cartels. Their stories show how poverty, ideas about identity, and government ignorance have warped the definition of the American dream."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-07-25
- Reviewer: Staff
Journalist Slater (Love in a Time of Algorithms) offers a grim, gripping account of the lives of two boys caught up in the drug wars. In a dramatic prologue set in 2006, the reader is introduced to 19-year-old Gabriel Cardona, a soldier for the drug cartel known as the Company, who is in the midst of pep talk with a neophyte hit man. But before Gabriel and his comrade can go into action, he's arrested. Slater then backtracks to the mid-1990s in Laredo, Tex., "the poorest city in America" and Gabriel's hometown, to delineate how Gabriel went from an ordinary child to a murderous would-be manager for narcotics traffickers. Young Gabriel is depicted as a model student with perfect attendance and advanced reading skills. The details of his childhood are made all the more poignant by knowing where he will end up. The book also provides the story of one of Gabriel's cohorts, known as Bart because of his resemblance to the Simpsons character. Bart, who "carried the rage of a poor boy whose family couldn't feed him," turned to gang life at the age of 12, and ended up killing more than 30 people. Slater effectively alternates between Gabriel's perspective (based off extensive correspondence with his subject) and that of dedicated cop Robert Garcia, who worked tirelessly to capture and convict the two young men. Slater ends on a depressing note as he is led to troubling conclusions "about evil as a natural product of human consciousness." Slater's effective use of historical context, including tracing the roots of the Mexican drug trade back to the 16th century following the conquest of the Aztec Empire, elevates this above similar accounts.. (Sept.)