Miami becomes ""America's new Salem"" in this finely crafted foray into the unholy union between Latin border drug-trafficking and witchcraft. Humes is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigating reporter for the Orange County Register. In 1989, when national headlines exposed the rape and mutilation of American student Mark Kilroy in Matamoros, Mexico, US lawmen were compelled to venture into a swamp of, as Humes puts it, ""black magic, drug dealing, and murder."" Their nemesis was Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, a Cuban-American ex-altar-boy-turned-""witch"" who immolated Kilroy and many others in order to harness demonic powers for his narcotics trade. Humes uses the Matamoros murder to start an engrossing and often obsessively gruesome account not only of Constanzo but of the history and ecstatic delirium behind Santeria and other Afro-Caribbean cults. Not content as a mere chronicler, Humes resorts to Constanzo's own records to enter the hearts and minds of the killer's bisexual coven as it castrates, beheads, and disembowels sacrificial victims. He then parallels these grisly scenes with the antics of Mexican police who, when not apathetic toward (or even complying with) such criminals, resort to interrogation tortures of their own. Humes pairs Constanzo with an alter-ego: Juan Benitez Ayala, the Mexican official who helps solve the case despite police resistance and interagency warfare between the DEA and US Customs. In the process, the author almost makes us believers in narco-sorcery as we learn how many of its practitioners continue to amass wealth, evoke fear, and elude authorities. More accomplished and less sensational than Clifford L. Linedecker's rival Hell Ranch (1989), Humes's account is gritty and suspenseful--tailor-made for filming.