From acclaimed author David Corbett, a stunning and suspenseful novel of a life without loyalties and the borders inside ourselves.
Roque Montalvo is wise beyond his eighteen years. Orphaned at birth, a gifted musician, he's stuck in a California backwater, helping his Salvadoran aunt care for his damaged brother, an ex-marine badly wounded in Iraq. When immigration agents arrest his uncle, the family has nowhere else to turn. Roque, badgered by his street-hardened cousin, agrees to bring the old man back, relying on the criminal gangs that control the dangerous smuggling routes from El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, to the U.S. border.
But his cousin has told Roque only so much. In reality, he will have to transport not just his uncle but two others: an Arab whose intentions are disturbingly vague and a young beauty promised to a Mexican crime lord. Roque discovers that his journey involves crossing more than one kind of border, and he will be asked time and again to choose between survival and betrayal – of his country, his family, his heart.
Freelance photographer and wildcat smuggler Dan Abatangelo blows into Vegas to hit the tables and taste the nightlife. In his path waits Shel Beaudry, a knockout redhead with a smile that says Gentlemen, start your engines. The attraction is instant – and soon the two are living the gypsy life on the West Coast, where Dan captains a distribution ring for premium Thai marijuana. His credo: "No guns, no gangsters, it's only money."
But the trade is changing. Eager to get out, Dan plans one last run, judges poorly, and is betrayed by an underling and caught by the DEA. To secure light time for Shel and his crew, Dan takes the fall and pleads to ten years. Now, having served the full term, he emerges from prison a man with a hardened will but an unchanged heart. Though probation guidelines forbid any contact with Shel, a convicted felon, he sets his focus on one thing: finding her.
Shel's life has taken a different turn since her release from prison. She has met Frank Maas, a recovering addict whose son died a merciless death. Driven by pity, Shel dedicates herself to nursing Frank back from grief and saving him from madness. But his weaknesses push him into the grip of a homegrown crime syndicate in command of the local methamphetamine trade. Mexicans are stealing the syndicate's territory, setting in motion a brutal chain of events that engulf Frank, Shel, and Dan in a race-fueled drug war from which none will escape unscathed.