Why Join?

  • Add New Books

  • Write a Review

  • Backpack Reading Lists

  • Monthly Newsletter

Join Now

The Dead Women of Juarez

The Dead Women of Juarez

Author(s): Sam Hawken

Location(s): Juarez

Genre(s): Fiction, Thriller

Era(s): Modern

Location

Content

For the setting of his first novel, Hawken, an American historian, has chosen Juarez, the border city in Mexico where hundreds, even thousands, of young women have been abducted and murdered in recent years. Most of them have been students or factory workers, and their corpses show signs of torture and sexual violence. Paloma is a young woman who works with a group called Mujeres Sin Voces, a fictional outfit based on two real organisations in Juarez that campaign for justice for the victims. One of the most vivid images in the book is a telegraph pole covered in fluttering photos of missing women, with new images added every few days.
juarez is dominated by drug cartels, and Paloma’s boyfriend, kelly, is involved in the drugs trade: her brother Esteban deals in dop and Kelly helps him sell it to American tourists. Kelly is a stock character, but the sitatuion he finds himself in 9the real-life murders of women on this scale have been termed “femicide”) is highly unusual. When Paloma disappears, kelly is in a heroin-induced stupor. He surfaces to find himself one of the chief suspects, along with Esteban, and the two men soon experience the brutality of a Mexican prison (this graphically viiolent novel is not for the squeamish).
Hawken conveys the desperate atmosphere of Juarez, but it’s a pity that all his significant characters are male in a city where women are denied voices. That doesn’t stop the novel being a tense, gripping read and a plea for justice. It deserves to be read on both counts. (Joan Smith, Sunday Times)

Review this Book

To review this book, please

Log in

Book Reviews

Lead Review

“‘A heartfelt book’ (Guardian)

Read review

Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021