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
The Dead Women of Juárez are real. All you have to do is read the book of the same name by Robert Andrew Powell and Chilean author Robert Bolano’s novel 2666. The problem truly came to light in 1993. However, Sam Hawken’s debut novel casts them into a totally different like.
The Dead Women of Juárez is a hardboiled look into broken lives. Lives that are grippingly brought to mind by the dirt, rot and all pervading awareness of death that lingers constantly in Juárez and which also leaves you with a persistent feeling of disquiet.
Kelly Courter is a washed up Texan who dabbles in drugs and offers himself as a punch-bag if the money is right. When his girlfriend (who is a women’s rights campaigner) disappears like so many of the other women in Ciudad Juárez, Courter along with her drug dealing brother find themselves caught up in murder and corruption and in way over their head. Help of sort comes in the guise of aging Detective Rafael Sevilla a police officer who is struggling to cope with the loss of his daughter and granddaughter.
The Dead Women of Juárez is a tense and gripping read that sheds light on an atrocious an appalling act. This is a brilliantly written and haunting crime novel that hits you in the heart right from the start and consistently throughout the novel. It is tragic, dark and heartfelt. The story is told from the perspective of two men and my only complaint is that it could have done with a female voice which would have made it all the more poignant and would have given the novel a deeper intensity. However, saying that The Dead Women of Juárez is powerful, shocking and thought proving novel that needs to be read. This is not a novel for the fainthearted as it is graphically violent.