Teresa Mendoza, the young girlfriend of Mexican pilot Guero Davila, goes on the run when he is killed by rivals or former friends in the drug trade. Sent away to the south of Spain, she begins to rebuild her life and hooks up with another transporter of illicit substances, Santiago Fisterra, who collects hashish from the African coast and moves it across the Strait of Gibralter to Spain.
After Fisterra's violent death in a race with a police helicopter, the badly-injured Teresa recuperates in prison, where she meets a tough girl from a wealthy family named Patricia O'Farrell. When they are both out of prison, the two women go into business together. Mostly, Teresa manages the drug transport while Patty spends her share of the profits on drugs and women.
This 2002 story by the best-selling Spanish writer, translated into English in 2004, gives a look at the drug trade (and government corruption that accompanies it on both sides of the Atlantic), but is ultimately a romantic fantasy -- sort of a highbrow summer beach novel.
This report prepared by David Loftus
Putnam, Jun 2004,
Mexican drug-running pilot Guero Davila warned his girlfriend that if the cell phone he gave her ever rings, she must flee because he is dead and she is next. When the call came, the voice calmly told her that “They wasted Guero”, killed his cousin, and she was high on the clean up list. Listening to the voice of Guero in her head, the panicked Teresa Mendoza runs for her life.
Teresa knows that they will find her eventually so she must change from the innocent upbeat girl who a coke delivery pilot rescued from poverty to a major player. She chooses Spain to start out, but she is raped and incarcerated for her efforts. However, over the next dozen years, Teresa learns and begins to rise through the ranks until she becomes Narco's QUEEN OF THE SOUTH with a confrontation awaiting her with the Don of Mexican druglords.
Readers receive a look at drug trafficking through the exploits of the protagonist. The story line actually plays out along two plots with the main theme being the rise to power of Teresa; the other subplot focuses on a reporter doing research into Teresa's life by interviewing felons and law enforcement officials who have known her.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner