Sporting a plaster cast for an ostensibly broken arm, Dwight Worker, a 26-year-old cocaine smuggler, is arrested at Mexico City's international airport with 800 grams under his cast. Stripped naked, beaten by anyone who feels like stomping a gringo, a cattle prod jammed into his genitals, he signs a confession without reading it and is thrown into the federal hellhole, gigantic Lecumberri prison. No plea, lawyer, trial, or rights, and facing six to fifteen years in this paranoid madhouse. He's tortured eighteen hours a day until he agrees to pay $500 to rent a cell from the insane convict mayor of his cellblock; then he is ready for ""re-extortion,"" having proved his ability to pay. He's one of 40 other Americans of the stoned generation in his dormitory, gringo millionaires lower than roach-shit and meant only to be tortured and beaten, beaten and tortured. Murder is one of the lighter depravities in the Black Palace. The only person ever to escape since the prison was built in 1900 was Pancho Villa. It is legendary for being escape-proof. Worker falls in love with Barbara Chilcoate, an American visitor, and between them they engineer his absolutely phenomenal escape (which shrieks for film). This story twists your arm up the back of your neck, jams your cheek into concrete, then slowly releases into a climax like an 800-gram coke rush. Smashingly told.