An ex-con informant caught in the middle of the drugs-and-guns trade across the U.S.-Mexico border becomes a contested frontier himself, as cops and criminals battle for his loyalty and offer precious little in return.
Felipe "Flip" Morales has done his four years in the Coffield Unit without saying a word. That makes him a stand-up guy in José Martinez’s book, and Martinez wants Flip in his criminal organization. He doesn’t mind that Flip already has a job unloading containers in a warehouse owned by his mother’s boyfriend, Alfredo Rodriguez. When the time comes, in fact, Martinez plans to lean on Alfredo to take his money and do his bidding as well. But Flip has other plans. As soon as Martinez gets in touch with him, he gets in touch with Detective Cristina Salas, of the El Paso Police Department, who’s been spending her days working cases like that of the grocery owner threatened by kids who demand free sodas—while her counterparts across the border in Ciudad Juárez, including Matías Segura, work multiple homicides. That imbalance is ended by Flip’s information about Martinez’s plans to trade American guns for Mexican drugs, which entangles Cristina, Matías and Flip with Jamie McPeek, an FBI agent who will do whatever’s necessary to roll up Martinez’s operation, even if it means keeping her local colleagues in the dark and hanging Cristina’s confidential informant out to dry.
Hawken (The Dead Women of Juárez, 2012) spins an uncompromising Mexican-American version of the British miniseries Traffik that finds room for a dry-eyed look at everyone involved in the drug trade, with special attention reserved for the hapless Flip.