Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Book Review: The Dead Women of Juarez

 The Dead Women of Juarez by Sam Hawken is intense, gut wrenching, scary, and it kept me turning pages. While the story is fiction, it is based on fact. Hundreds, if not thousands, of women from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, are missing and presumed dead.

A group of faithful women, the Mujeres Sin Voces, mourn them, but can do nothing to stop the kidnappings. The policia are either corrupt or helpless.

The Dead Women of Juarez starts in the viewpoint of Kelly, a boxer from the U.S. who now lives in Juarez.  He is strong when it comes to boxing, but weak when it comes to drugs. But he is an intriguing character through which to see and experience the world of Juarez. Despite the drugs, he seeks to do what is right, even if it costs him dearly.

The second half of the book is told through a police officer, Sevilla. To find who is behind the kidnappings and killings, he has to step off the line that he swore to follow. He realizes that he must find out who is behind the missing women, including his own wife and daughter.

When I first picked up the book, I thought, I don't want to read a book about women being killed and raped. That seems to be the standard for all the cop and CSI shows on TV.  But I began to read and realized this isn't a book about the rapes and murder; it's about two men trying to stop the cycle of death and terror. It is a book that keeps you turning pages, calls to you to keep reading, takes your breath away in places, and touches your soul.

The Dead Women of Juarez is scheduled to go on sale in September. Mark it on your To-Buy list or your calendar so you won't forget to look for it.


I give The Dead Women of Juarez a rating of Hel-of-a-Writer.
FTC Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Meryl Zegarek with Meryl Zegarek Public Relations. This did not influence my review. I was influenced by the writing. Sam Hawken pulls you into the story and won't let you put it down. I believe this is his first book -- and it's a doozy. By doozy, I mean Hawken doesn't go for the expected. You think X will happen but instead Z hammers down. By doozy, I mean there were times I had to set the book down and walk away. There were times I wanted to keep reading and if I'd had an e-copy of it, I would have read way into the night. Maybe it's because I live in Texas. I've looked across the border from El Paso and seen the houses of Ciudad Juarez  dotting the hillside on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. Maybe it's because I am a woman and the story weighted my heart. But I think any man reading this would do the same as I -- turn the pages, reading, feeling, wanting things to be set right. Somehow. Some way.


  1. There is so much madness going on in the world that we don't know much about. What a sad story.

  2. If it doesn't focus on the rapes and murders, then it sounds interesting. Or shall I say, a 'doozy?'

  3. sounds very intense. Thanks for the review

  4. It sounds like a heart-wrenching book. Thanks for reviewing it for us!

  5. Mexico is a scary place. Like you, I would hestitate to read another true story about women getting kidnapped and assualted.

  6. None of the rapes take place on-scene. But that doesn't lessen the intensity of parts of the book.

  7. Have added this to my wishlist, thanks for the great review.

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

    P.s tried to follow you but don't see a GFC button?

  8. Hi Lainy, The button is after my book covers in the right side bar. Just below the last cover, you'll see: Followers, then below that a button to push that says: Join this site, and under that: "with Google Friend Connect"

    Hope you enjoy the book.

  9. Great review, Helen. As usual I was really intrigued after reading your disclaimer. I always do read those as you often continue the review there. (smile)

  10. Good review, Helen. A few years ago I read The Daughters of Juarez by Teresa Rodriguez, a non-fiction book on the same subject. There was about a decade in which over 400 young women had been murdered, and the crimes were unsolved as of around 2006--and the murders were continuing. The author hinted that police may be some of the murderers. I don't know about the novel, but the truth is horrific.

  11. Yes, good review, Helen. I don't know if my heart could handle the stress of reading it, but these stories need telling. The truth is stronger than fiction. How sad and frustrating for everyone, not to mention frightening.

  12. Sounds like a book waiting to be adapted into a thriller on screen. Great review, Helen.


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