Lydia and Luca are hiding in the shower room of their home while 16 members of her family are murdered. Lydia’s husband, a journalist, wrote about the latest drugs cartel in Acapulco and now, to stay alive, the mother and small son must disappear to America. Instead of the middle-class life Lydia has enjoyed as a bookshop owner, she and Luca must become one of those nameless, desperate migrants against whom President Trump vows to build his wall.
So begins Jeanine Cummins’s third novel, and if you think this is another Roma-style examination of the lives of poor Mexicans, think again. Cummins, who is not Mexican, says in her Afterword that she wishes this story had been written by someone who is (and indeed, the great thriller writer Don Winslow has already explored the cartels in his novels).