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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: #111,742 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

The issues are real and well explored.
Jeffrey A. Cohen
The story follows Border Patrol rookie Valentine Pescatore from the US/Mexican border near San Diego to the Triple Border area.
An intriguing plot combined with nice suspense makes Triple Crossing a fun, action filled novel.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Toni Osborne on November 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This novel tells the story about the pursuit of justice by law enforcement on both sides of the U.S. and the Mexican border. It explores and dramatizes the violence and corruption in the drug trade and the human smuggling while at the same time honoring the honest Border Patrol agents on both sides who resist the cartels and often pay a heavy price.

This fast paced thriller has two heroes: working the trenches between San Diego and Tijuana is Valentine Pascatore, a no-nonsense Border Patrol agent of Mexican and Argentine descent. On the side is Leo Mendez, a reformist chief of an elite Mexican police unit known as the Diogenes Group. Most of the narrative alternates between these two protagonists, sometimes it is very tedious and a challenge to follow, some knowledge of Spanish would definitely have been an asset.

Pascatore takes great pride in his position as a border agent, a real pit-bull on the job with of soft side slipping at times as few dollars to illegals to tie them over till they are returned home. His aggressiveness attracts the attention of Isabel Puente, an agent with the U.S. Inspector General's Office who wants to utilize him as an undercover agent to infiltrate the most powerful Mexican crime syndicate. Pascatore accepts the challenge and things goes well at first till one day a disastrous incident puts him on the run. Wrongly accused of murdering a police officer and not wanting to blow his cover he carries on with his assignment in the Triple Border area of South America, a no man's land where any wrong move could be fatal.

The plot is intense with plenty of suspense and action while it follows the hair-raising life of a double agent trying to walk the fine line between good and evil. The emotions expressed by the main characters and the secondary ones are quite credible. Although the narrative passages are highly dynamic the fine details I was missing became overwhelming at times and maintaining focus was a challenge.
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6 of 7 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 4 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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Adam Simon on August 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Award winning Journalist Sebastian Rotella has just published a searingly good first crime novel. I have been a fan since following his journalism covering the US-Mexico border for the LA times (His reporting from the border was openly acknowledged by Bruce Springsteen as one of the inspirations for the brilliant Ghost of Tom Joad album), and then his often stranger than fiction reporting from Latin America and more recently the scary zones of international crime and terrorism. Rotella's recent reporting for Pro Publica and the Washington Post on the bizarre American connection to the Mumbai massacres was as mind-blowing as journalism gets. I check his pro publica page regularly. Anyone who enjoys Micheal Connelly's work, James Ellroy, B. Traven, the American hard boiled tradition in general, or simply likes beautifully written, intensely observed, thematically important and just plain gripping fiction should check it out.

Who says great beach reading can't make you think too?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ray Garraty on October 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Valentine Pescatore, after got into trouble in his native Chicago, moved closer to the Mexican border in San Diego, where he began to work as a Border Patrol Agent. Pescatore’s supervisor Agent Garrison is a dirty cop and carries out assignments for the serious people from the cartel. American government has long been dreaming to expose Harrison, but he is very careful and does not make mistakes. When Pescatore violates the law by crossing the border with Mexico, it offers big troubles for. American female agent Isabel Puente investigating the affairs of the influential members of the cartel, offers Pescatore to go undercover, rubbing in the credibility of Garrison, which can lead to the top of the cartel - Junior Ruiz Caballero. This way the agent may avoid prison. Pescatore, a rookie, agrees, but also manages to sleep with Puente. And if beautiful Puente entirely trusts Pescatore, then one more important character of the book - Leo Mendez, a former Mexican journalist and now head of anti-corruption unit in Tijuana – believes that Pescatore is an unreliable source that can work on both sides. Mendez is not only famous for his probity that even causes fear among dishonest: he also heads the so-called The Diogenes Group, which includes the most proven people of Mexico, and two aides of Mendez are called Athos and Porthos.

When Garrison is killed in a shootout, Pescatore is embroiled in a web of intrigue, working for the cartel. The undercover agent after a certain time is cut off from Puente and Mendez. Now, for him the most important thing is to survive.

Rotella is a journalist, who have been writing for decades about the US-Mexican border. He know what happens at the junction of the two states. Because of that the novel seems at times more non-fiction, than fiction.
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