A behind-the-scenes look at the adventures of a U.S. Customs special agent on the front lines of the drug wars.
Retired agent Kirkpatrick reflects on his nearly 30 years spent patrolling the 60-mile stretch of land between Arizona’s Santa Cruz County and Sonora, Mexico. The author’s straight-shooting narration leaves little to the imagination, as he provides a loose-tongued recounting of drug busts, fistfights and the occasional sexual escapade. Kirkpatrick’s exploits paint him as a renegade Customs cowboy who discovered early in his career that “[n]ot every rule can be followed to the letter”—proof of which he demonstrates throughout the book. Yet his strong-armed approach to the law was more than a power trip; it was the result of a sincere desire to level a wildly uneven playing field. “You’re not just battling the traffickers,” he writes, “you’re fighting the will of the American people, the entire justice system, the liberal Ninth Circuit Court, defense attorneys, and Washington D.C.” His frustration grows even more palpable as he notes that drug smugglers have the added benefit of “better surveillance equipment, more personnel, [and] better vehicles.” Unfortunately, these insights are rare, and rather than providing additional commentary on the struggles of drug-trafficking prevention, the book spirals down an episodic path veering toward indulgence.
A heart-pounding read lacking a climax or overarching structure.