In 1741 Mexico, a Jesuit priest has an extraordinary experience that may destroy his soul. Over two centuries later in the same country, a covert U.S. drug operation turns sour. Years later in San Diego, a man and woman are murdered, drawing in ex–FBI agent Sean Reilly, the woman’s former lover. Reilly has since married. His wife Tess takes the murdered woman’s 4-year-old son Alex under her wing as Reilly tries to learn the reason for this crime. Meanwhile, young Alex has drawn a disturbing picture he can’t explain, but that couldn’t have any connection to the mystery—or could it? Reilly had killed a man in that botched Mexican operation, and he now learns that all the events are connected. Suddenly he is thrown into a situation much bigger than the mortal threat to him and his family. A cartel is after the ancient secret to a mysterious hallucinogen that may have the power to shake the world to its core. The criminals see Reilly as the key to finding it—or is he the person they really want? The novel is full of twists, one of them hard to believe—or is it? Reilly faces a formidable opponent in El Brujo, a vicious beast with interesting means of punishing his enemies, but they are not the only hazard Reilly faces. Luckily, he has critical support from Tess despite a couple of big surprises. What with all the poisons, gunfire and wholesale bloodletting, he needs whatever help he can get.
Vivid, energetic scenes ensure that Khoury’s tale never falters or bores. It’s the sort of novel that could make a colorful movie, but meanwhile, enjoy the book.