This book is the author’s 3rd Jeff Trask crime drama. The only negative thing that I can even remotely think of to say about this book is that I missed out on the other two books.
The story begins at the end of an afternoon tryst between the rich and powerful in Washington DC. He is someone whose vote on the Hill makes a difference and she is the daughter of a very wealthy oil baron who also happens to be the most powerful man in the Senate. Their afternoon together ends as it typically does, he leaves to head back to the Capital, covering his traces as he goes and she prepares a syringe of heroin. However this heroin is not the usual, this is a newcomer on the market “China White.” It is much more potent and pure than the usual and it also levels the playing field between the haves and the have not’s. It takes the life of Jane Britt Heidelberg, debutante daughter just as easily and quickly as it takes the lives of several women who work the track, the lowest rung on the DC prostitution ladder. Her father demands answers from the Office of the United States Attorney’s Office and their top officer, Jeff Trask is assigned the case. What seems on the surface to be an open and shut case becomes something much bigger, leading straight to the center of the violent war between Mexico’s most notorious drug cartels – neither of which are going to let anything stand in the way of their business.
In Mexico, Captain Luis Aguilar, seems to fighting a losing battle for the love of his country. He has witnessed more heinous acts of murder than any human should including those of some of the men in his unit, and even more horrifying their families. He lives in conditions considered well below poverty in the United States and feels guilty because his men have it worse. He has been shot at more times than he can count and shot more times than his wife can stand. He lives with the daily knowledge that every breath he takes could very well be his last and with the guilt that his wife, who is American could be living in relative safety, is always in harms way and wants nothing more than a quiet life together in their cabin on a Texas lake. But his love of country and his conviction that good will triumph over evil he is willing to put his life and that of his family on the line to defend his motherland.
Mark Rainer is a master at bringing the characters to life, as he should be. He is a former Air Force JAG circuit prosecutor and was a federal prosecutor in Washington DC. He uses bits and pieces of information from the hundreds of military and civilian cases he has tried including homicide, federal conspiracy and mafia and organized crime. Not all the characters in this story are based on actual people or situations but the most frightening and evil ones unfortunately are.
The author writes in his foreword that he writes to educate and entertain but the danger presented by the drug cartels to our south cannot be underestimated and he invites his readers to research the cartels he writes about. It is not for the faint of heart. The ruthlessness of these cartels is shocking, even in a time where little is surprising. He calls the “War on Drugs” nothing more than a catchphrase that helps politicians get re-elected and he is right. There will always be criminals and people who have the same feeling about decapitating a man that they do about twisting the top off a cold bottle of beer but there will also always be good guys. And as long as there is some good, we can continue to fight the evil.