Ayo Onatade is an avid reader of crime and mystery fiction. She has been writing reviews, interviews and articles on the subject for the last 12 years; with an eclectic taste from historical to hardboiled, short stories and noir films
If like me you were amazed by this author’s debut novel The Dead Women of Juarez when it was released then you will realise that Hawken has made gritty realism a natural part of his writing. In this latest book, he has moved away from the rather harrowing and troubling but real life subject of the senseless killing of the women of Juarez to the equally disturbing and brutal gangs found on the US/Mexico border.
In this case, we have one single criminal gang that is to blame for nearly all the homicides that have taken place in Ciudad Juarez. Barrio Azteca aka Los Aztecas by the Mexicans. They are the one gang that can profess to have a foot in each side of the border. Stuck in the midst of this violent world is Felipe Morales, recruited in prison he now lives his life on the streets of El Paso. It is a life where he has no choice but to become further immersed despite his frantic attempts to leave it all behind. There is also El Paso detective Cristina Salas who is herself struggling to balance her job within the gang unit and her life as a single mother and Mexican Federal Agent Matias Segura who must deal with the blight that is Los Aztecas whilst he also tries to cope with a long-standing operation with his American counterparts. Lives are truly at stake in this violent novel where murder is a matter of course and here are no reservations about killing anyone who gets in their way
From the outset, it is clear that this novel is not for the faint-hearted. This brilliantly written, dramatic but vicious novel will keep you on tenterhooks all the way to the end. Whilst in all honestly you may not like all the characters in the book, you cannot fail to be engaged by them.
The author has managed to ensure that with each page the reader is thoroughly engaged and drawn deeper and deeper into the deception that flows across the pages. Tequila Sunset is realistically composed, deftly put together and drenched with violence and aggression that would make any sane person run for their life. If you like, your stories with not only a sting in the tail but with a kick then Tequila Sunset will guarantee that all these bases are covered. Hopefully a book that will become a classic and will be read for years to come. Well worth losing sleep over.