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The Dead Women of Juárez Paperback – January 6, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (January 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184668773X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846687730
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,273,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"'A beautifully written and deeply affecting crime novel dealing with the wasted life of an American boxer in the city of Juarez, Mexico, the missing women of that city and ultimately a small amount of justice that is awarded them. Hawken writes with a maturity that is rare for a first novel, and achieves both a great crime novel and a work that transcends the genre. This is the real deal: tragic, dark, heartfelt. The Dead Women of Juarez deserves to be massive.' - Dave Zeltserman"

About the Author

Sam Hawken is a native of Texas now living on the east coast of the United States. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he pursued a career as a historian before turning to writing. The Dead Women of Juarez is his first novel.

More About the Author

Sam Hawken is a novelist whose mainstream publishing career began in 2011 with the publication in the United Kingdom of THE DEAD WOMEN OF JUÁREZ, a crime novel that used the real-life tragedy of female homicides in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez as the stepping-off point for a story of corruption, despair and redemption. It was shortlisted by the Crime Writers Association for the John Creasy New Blood Dagger.

TEQUILA SUNSET followed in 2012, returning once again to Ciudad Juárez and its sister city, El Paso, Texas. This time Hawken drew upon the legacy of the infamous gang Barrio Azteca, at one time responsible for over 80% of the murders in Juárez, formerly the murder capital of the world. Once again, the Crime Writers Association recognized Hawken's work, nominating TEQUILA SUNSET for the Gold Dagger (best crime novel of the year).

Trained as an historian, Sam Hawken leans on his academic background to create books with solid connections to the real world, while also telling human stories. Though he no longer counts Texas as his home, he has not left the American Southwest behind. His third traditionally published novel, LA FRONTERA, appeared in December 2013, with a fourth, MISSING, coming in 2014.

When not writing, Hawken is a husband and the father of a son with autism. He is active in autism- and special needs-related causes, including Autism Speaks and the Special Olympics. He especially encourages donations to the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

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"Sam Hawken has been slowly but surely making his presence known in the crime fiction community over the past few years[.] If you're not reading Hawken's work yet, get on it now." ~~ Elizabeth A. White

Customer Reviews

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It's really stunning in an 'oh my god, tell me that didn't just happen' sort of way.
D. Moore
The short description of the book makes you believe this is a detective novel where two unlikely characters solve a problem around a disappeared woman.
Hubert Smits
That feeling of desperation tinged with hope is one Hawken captures in a way that is almost uncomfortably palpable.
Elizabeth A. White

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. Moore on March 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is one of the darkest, bleakest, most brilliant books I've ever read. Kelly Courter is a jaded, worn-out boxer. Drugs, drink, and a series of fights where he's basically used as a punching bag, are a far cry from his previous successful career in Texas. The one bright spot in his life is his girlfriend Paloma - a volunteer at an organisation trying to get justice for the hundreds of women who have disappeared in Juarez in recent years. Many of them have been found murdered. Some have never been found. Senseless brutality, poverty, fear, hopelessness and desperation soak the pages of this book. I felt utterly sad and drained after I'd finished it. It's only January, but I already know it will be on my best of 2011 list. It's really stunning in an 'oh my god, tell me that didn't just happen' sort of way. This book is so dark and gritty and hard-boiled that you feel as though somebody's locked you in a cellar and thrown seven tons of coal down on top of you before boiling you so hard you need a pickaxe to get out. Sorry, that was a very forced metaphor. It's bloody dark, OK?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ripple on December 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Although the story related here is a work of fiction, the situation is based on fact. The Mexican border city of Juárez has a shocking problem with female homicides (usually young and invariably pretty). Official statistics put the number of murders at 400 since 1993 while, we are told, residents believe that the true number of disappeared women is closer to 5000. But attention to this problem is diverted by drug crime, although the two may not be entirely unrelated. Anything that raises public awareness of this terrible situation, such as Hawken's book, is to be encouraged.

So much for the fact, what about the fiction?

If I had to use one word to sum up this book, it would be `cinematic'. Partly, this is down to the story being told in a series of short chapters, often only four or five pages long, that gives the impression of a movie-type story. Partly too it's achieved though a lot of dialogue. It would be no surprise to me if this story were to be picked up by a Hollywood studio and it would make a decent enough action movie. There's a prime part for a beaten up American boxer, down on his luck and resorting to drug use. A part too for his beautiful Mexican girlfriend who does good work in helping the families of the missing women. And for added gratias, there's a great part for an old-school Mexican cop, close to retirement and determined to get to the bottom of the problem of the missing women (for missing, read `presumed dead') but having to do so outside of the confines of conventional measures. And there's plenty of action scenes.

This is not tourist Mexico of `spring break', but the poor, drug-ridden, alcohol-soaked, violent underbelly of life. A lot of the violence is graphically portrayed and quite shocking.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Camilla Rose on October 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Dead Women of Juarez is an excellent novel about events that are all too real. I could not put the book down and wanted more. I hope there is a sequel coming forth in the future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. White on October 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
Once a promising boxer, American Kelly Courter found himself in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico after his dance with drugs and alcohol resulted in a horrific accident he chose to flee from rather than face the consequences. He still boxes, though now it's his job to play the role of human punching bag for up-and-coming young Mexican fighters in unsanctioned smoker fights. He also makes a little money on the side by helping his friend Estéban sell marijuana and repackaged prescription pills bought dirt cheap from farmacias and sold at tremendous markup to clueless turistas. It's not an ideal existence by any stretch of the imagination, but Kelly does have one bright spot in his life, Estéban's sister, Paloma, with whom Kelly is involved.

Though Paloma is romantically involved with Kelly, her passion lies with Mujeres Sin Voces, an organization dedicated to seeking justice for the countless young women of Ciudad Juárez who go missing every year. Sometimes the women are found murdered, but more often than not they simply disappear, never to be seen again. The polícia are no help, they more than have their hands full fighting a losing battle against the drug cartels, leaving the families of the missing to seek what justice they can on their own.

Detective Rafael Sevilla is a man close to retirement, having put nearly thirty years of his life into the drug wars. Most recently he's had Estéban on his radar, occasionally leaning on Kelly to try and get the name of Estéban's heroin supplier, information Kelly honestly doesn't know having steered clear of that end of Estéban's business.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on August 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a short work of fiction that touches a subject that more Americans should be aware of, considering the close proximity between the US and Mexico. Mr. Hawken writes in a very quick paced and deliberate way and the reader can almost envision this as a movie. If you are familiar with recent television programs you will find many things in this book that gave inspiration to shows such as the American version of The Bridge.
The picture painted is one of corruption and if anyone is familiar with the recent troubles that northern Mexico has gone through for almost a decade with the drug wars will know that the situation is quite bleak especially in the cities bordering the US. While this book isn't about the drug war, the disappearances of young women in Juarez is very real.
The only issue I had with this book was the protagonist. The fact that he is a down on his luck American boxer seems to be a cliche, but since this is a work of fiction I guess the author had to spice up the story a bit with the usual American archetype.
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