Two FBI agents work to take down members of a drug cartel wrapped up with quarter horse racing in Texas.
In her first book, Texas Observer investigative reporter del Bosque follows new agent Scott Lawson and his eventual partner, identified here with a pseudonym because she has family in Mexico, as they work with Tyler Graham, the young owner of a horse farm, to uncover a money laundering scheme set into motion by the Zetas, a violent cartel controlled by the Treviño family. The author describes scenes of action in suspenseful detail without neglecting the more mundane aspects of the investigation, including the painstaking tracing of the money trail between the cartel’s leaders in Mexico and their agents, who often spend unusual amounts of cash to buy horses in the United States. The author has a clear understanding of the often counterproductive conflicts among the various government agencies working the drug war in Texas, and she builds tension in the narrative by emphasizing how close the FBI’s carefully built case came to being scuttled by the agendas of other agencies. Del Bosque also follows closely the trial of those accused of money laundering, analyzing the ups and downs of the prosecution of the case. While the account is, as might be expected, skewed toward the points of view of those participants who were willing to talk with her, particularly Lawson, the author skillfully uses a variety of sources to convey the intricacies of a complicated case and builds in bits of background without slowing down the movement of the story. The working relationship between Lawson and his partner is particularly well-defined.
Fans of true crime and readers curious about the inner workings of Mexican drug cartels should enjoy this well-researched story. Though different in execution, this book pairs nicely with Joe Tone’s Bones, which covers the same subject.