This action-adventure sequel focuses on the war against two cartels in Mexico.
Marnia Gonzalez, daughter of the Mexican president, is inspired by the bravery of Jacob Edwards of the U.S. Coast Guard when he saves her from an attack on a cruise ship. She resolves to reject her life of privilege and do something to help stop the crime ravaging her country. After her training, she is assigned to the Anti-Cartel Task Force led by Col. Antonio Ramirez. That puts her in the middle of the uneasy truce between the Manerez and Santiago cartels, the two most powerful operations dealing in drugs, weapons, and other illegal activities. Marnia quickly becomes the public face of the task force when she rescues some children from Santiago’s traffickers with the help of connected hotel owner Rosemary Sargent. Marnia uses her strength and intelligence as well as her family connections to fight the cartels and the Russian money launderer Boris, who is working behind the scenes. On an assignment in northern Mexico, Marnia’s job gets more complicated when she discovers her family is involved in the corruption, and she finds an unexpected ally in Jonathan Manerez, son of Maximillian, head of the Manerez cartel. Marnia’s rise from rich kid to crime-fighting heroine provides for an intriguing tale, and Hendrickson (The Good Fight, 2018, etc.) has surrounded her with a strong cast of characters. There are some captivating concepts—a cattle charge against one of the cartel’s armies later in the book is an especially nice touch. But the author’s narrative voice is flat, and much of the story reads like a summary. In Chapter 1, Hendrickson writes of Marnia: “The horror she endured on the cruise ship dramatically and irreversibly changed her life.” Readers don’t get to see that firsthand; they are merely told about it. Similarly, when she begins her training, the author writes that “she asserted herself as a natural leader and talented military strategist” but shows none of that development.
A crime tale offers some intriguing ideas, but the stiff narrative style makes for an uneven read.