by Michael Deibert
With the war between the Mexican state and the drug traffickers operating within its borders having claimed over 60,000 lives since 2006, noted journalist and author Michael Deibert zeroes in on the story of the notorious Gulf Cartel, their deadly war with their former allies Los Zetas, the cartel’s connections in Mexican politics and what its trajectory means for Mexico’s—and America’s—future.
Punctuated by the disappearance of busloads of full of people from Mexican highways, heavy-weapon firefights in once-picturesque colonial towns and the discovery of mass graves, nowhere has the violence of Mexico’s drug war been more intense than directly across the border from East Texas, the scene of a scorched-earth war between two of Mexico’s largest drug trafficking organizations: The Gulf Cartel, a criminal body with roots stretching back to Prohibition, and Los Zetas, a group famous for their savagery and largely made up of deserters form Mexico’s armed forces. From the valleys and sierras of rural Tamaulipas and Nuevo León to the economic hub of Monterrey, the violence rivals anything seen in the more well-known narco war in Ciudad Juárez, 830 miles to the west.
Combining dozens of interviews that the author has conducted over the last five years in Mexico and other countries in the region along with a vast reserve of secondary source material, In the Shadow of Saint Death: The Gulf Cartel and the Price of America’s Drug War in Mexico gives U.S. readers the story of the war being waged along our border in the voices of the cartel hitmen, law enforcement officials, politicians, truckers, shopkeepers, teachers and children living inside of it year-round. Through their stories, the book will pose provocative questions about the direction and consequence of U.S. drug policy and the militarized approach to combating the narcotics trade on both sides of the border.
North American publisher: Lyons Press, June 2014
Foreign rights contact: Jon Sternfeld, Lyons Press
Film/TV rights contact: Allison Devereux, Wolf Literary Services
Michael Deibert has to be one of the most courageous journalists working today. He goes to the hardest places—the favelas of Rio, the shantytowns of Port-au-Prince, the killing grounds of central Africa—and comes out with stories no one else gets. Now, with In the Shadow of Saint Death, he turns his unflinching eye on Mexico to explore the horrific price that country has paid for the United States’ failed ‘war on drugs.’ This extraordinary book cuts through the politics and propaganda, straight to the heart of the matter—the lives lost, the profits reaped, and the vast systems on both sides of the border that keep the whole bloody business going.”—Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, winner of the National Book Critics’ Circle Award and finalist for the National Book Award
In the Shadow of Saint Death is not for the fainthearted. It contains uncomfortable, painful truths about Mexico’s powerful and bloody Gulf Cartel, its origins, and the insatiable U.S. demand for illicit drugs. Richly told, Michael Deibert’s book is a remarkable chronicle of a cartel’s rise and a country’s fall.”—Alfredo Corchado, author of Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey Through a Country’s Descent into Darkness