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Triple Crossing: A Novel Hardcover – August 10, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books; 1 edition (August 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316105309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316105309
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #996,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This is one of the most accomplished first novels I have ever read. Triple Crossing is full of dangers, deep characters and a story writ on a grand scale."—Michael Connelly

"An honest and engrossing journey into a world of violence and corruption....Rotella knows how the police work, how the criminals operate and how bribes and violence subvert the law. He employs a journalist's sharp eye and a novelist's deft touch to give us a rich portrait of the sights, smells, sounds, beauties, and dangers of life south of the border."—Patrick Anderson, Washington Post

"A remarkable first novel....The pounding action scenes are driven by Rotella's ferocious prose style."—New York Times Book Review

"The reader will be racing along through the pages of Rotella's novel at near break-neck speed."—Alan Cheuse, Dallas Morning News

"Superb fiction debut....Unflinching views of a double agent's harrowing life, a violence-drenched Mexican jail, and the wild border areas complement the provocative plot."—Publishers Weekly

"A strongly choreographed, authentically detailed, and sharply funny tale of cultural complexity and raging global criminality."—Donna Seaman, Booklist

"A fast-paced thriller that rings true to the real story behind the political posturing over the drug war, illegal immigration, and border security."—Kirkus

"Rotella's crime drama captures the feel of the rampant corruption that is the stuff of headlines in the United States and Mexico. This should satisfy readers far beyond the border."—Eric Norton, Library Journal

"Rotella's profound understanding of the many hidden worlds of the border takes this thriller into the realms of nightmare and exquisite terror."—Luis Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North

About the Author

Sebastian Rotella is an author and award-winning senior reporter for Propublica, an independent organization dedicated to investigative journalism. He covers issues including international terrorism, organized crime, homeland security and immigration. Previously, he worked for 23 years for the Los Angeles Times, serving as bureau chief in Paris and Buenos Aires and covering the Mexican border. He was a Pulitzer finalist in international reporting in 2006. He is the author of Twilight on the Line: Underworlds and Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border (Norton), which was named a New York Times Notable Book in 1998.

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Customer Reviews

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Popular Discussion Topics

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Someone Else TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is an intelligent thriller written by a guy with an impressive background in journalism.

You can cross Tijuana off your list of vacation destinations. The same goes for the "Triple Border" where Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina all connect. That is, of course, unless you like the sound of gunfire and the sight of dead bodies and the smell of alcoholic drug addicts. In that case, be my guest. Be sure to pack your body armor.

Triple Crossing takes you into the chaotic world of corrupt border politics, law enforcement, and the powerful, violent groups of many nationalities that control smuggling operations. Loyalties are always changing on both sides of the border, and treachery is the rule.

Valentine Pescatore is a young Border Patrol agent who has gotten himself into a heap of trouble on the job. As an alternative to criminal charges, he agrees to go undercover in Mexico for a U.S. investigative agency. But once ensconced, he seems to be playing for the wrong team. Has he gone renegade? And how the heck does he end up way down in South America, where things are even messier than in Tijuana?

The end of the story may leave you still unsure who is sincere and who is a scumbag, which is probably an accurate reflection of life in that milieu. In that sense, the book's title could have a double (or triple?) meaning.
Sebastian Rotella's journalistic excellence is evident throughout. His need to inform is sometimes detrimental to plot pacing, but adds a welcome realism to the events.

This one should appeal to a good variety of readers in the genre. It has enough testosterone to keep the gents happy, but not enough blood and guts to scare away the ladies.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on August 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Career Conditional Border Patrol agent Valentine Pescatore works the San Diego- Tijuana Line. He understands the rules, but cannot help feeling for some of the women and children caught in the righteous political anti-illegal immigration fever. In fact he has given money to some of those he arrested. Valentine's idealism clashes with his vicious supervisor Arleigh Garrison, who sees these illegal "animals" as sport.

During a stoppage, Valentine notice notorious human-drug smuggler Pulp escaping. He follows the nasty supplier into Tijuana, violating the treaty and the laws of both countries. Federal Agent Isabel Puente finds Valentine on the wrong side of the border and the law. She recruits him by blackmailing him to go undercover inside a particularly nasty Mexican mafia family. As he falls in love with his puppeteer, Valentine becomes a double agent working the lethal South American "triple border" crossing.

Reporter Sebastian Rotella pulls no punches in this dark look at working undercover amongst extremely dangerous people. The story line is action-packed while containing a strong cast and not just the three above as for instance Mexican official Mendez diligently works anti-corruption in Tijuana. Except for the suits who use the illegal immigration issue as a tough on crime vote getter, readers will appreciate the dangerous rest of the story.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark P. Sadler VINE VOICE on May 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a journalist, Rotella tells it the way it is, straight talk, all facts about life south of the border. A Pulitzer finalist, he found many stories he could never fully substantiate, tales all fascinating but unprintable for a newspaper. Taking all these fables, gossip, innuendo, and rumors, he works them into a border story the likes of which you have never read and treats us to his debut novel.
Valentine Pescatore, a wannabe street punk from Chicago is given one last chance to straighten up his life and with the help of an uncle, has found his way to the Border Patrol. In his personal life he is a loose cannon; his supervisor's a dirty cop and life is an alcohol-fueled thrill-a-minute. He receives a warning after he is suspected of chasing a cholo into Mexico, but finds himself given a reprieve if he rats out his supervisor.
Pescatore finds himself in a gunfight and ends up driving his wounded supervisor to the underworld bosses in Mexico, but once there can't leave. He goes undercover, joining in the illegal activities and reaching out to agents in the US--when able--to let them know he is alive and working from deep inside the organization.
As the story progresses, we are introduced to the triple border, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, the heart of all smuggling, where Arabs and Chinese mix into the flow and money of illegal activities as they move up through Central America hitting the border we are all more familiar with.
With his life in jeopardy, Pescatore does his best to keep the blurry lines between right and wrong straight as he works to keep his cover. Suspecting he is playing the double-agent game, his superiors make arrangements to setup the gangsters; everyone comes in guns blazing. The final scenes will drop your jaw in amazement.
Rotella treats us to a wild ride into unfamiliar territory with the ferocity that the cartels hand out on the streets of Mexico; brutal, punishing, and final.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey A. Cohen on April 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Triple Crossing is a great read. The writing is excellent. The author knows his subject matter. The issues are real and well explored. The plot is engrossing--much is at stake. The action is exciting. I really, really enjoyed this novel. With all of the above and Rotella's gifts for dialogue and describing body language, you read this book feeling in great hands. Get ready for some great thrills and to respect yourself in the morning.
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