Ah I knew I was stepping out of my book comfort zone with this one, but I chose it because I wanted to try something different and because it is contemporary Mexican literature, and I’m interested in that. It’s a good book, just really not for me. Elmer Mendoza’s writing style takes some getting used to (it’s basically all run-on sentences, thought processes, and dialogue without much punctuation), but it works brilliantly for the genre.
Edgar “Lefty” Mendieta is a detective in the Culiacán police force in the state of Sinaloa (and you have been living behind a rock if you don’t know what Sinaloa is notorious for). There’s an old girlfriend who reappears with an 18 year old son he had no idea about, a crazy narco with a tooth abscess who keeps shooting dentists, a tough Pacific Cartel leader in the midst of the war on drugs, and plot twists all over the place. There are also so many characters and the narrative switches up the timeline and the narrator on a regular basis which can lead to some confusion. This is also part of the appeal to be honest - as the book is a striking fictional account of real life... Nothing is as it seems in Narco world, and everyone is involved in some way or another!
I mentioned genre up above - mainly because I found this book listed under “narco-lit” - I have no idea if this is actually a true genre, or something invented by fans of Mendoza. I totally get it though - this IS narco-lit. You know how you can totally imagine Detective Bosch in Connelly’s series? I can already imagine Lefty in his own TV series. Can someone make this happen? This is the third in the Lefty series – I haven’t read any of the others, but I can really see this as a TV series.
Three stars because I’m glad I tried this but it’s not really my cup of tea, but I bet there are some major fans of Mendoza’s work out there because it’s excellent in its genre.
Note - I read a translation of the original Spanish. I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more in Spanish? It's just that my Spanish isn't good enough for a novel yet really.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the copy!