I have read a couple of Mike Lawson’s books about Congressional Investigator Joe DeMarco that I thoroughly enjoyed. Writing as M. A. Lawson, he has created another series, this one featuring D.E.A. Agent Kay Hamilton. The first in that series is Rosarito Beach. I am looking forward to reading more stories featuring Agent Hamilton.
Book One is set primarily in San Diego, California; U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton near San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico just across the border from San Diego. Brothers Caesar and Tito Olivera run one of Mexico’s most ruthless, largest and richest drug cartels with partners around the world, including Russia. Caesar is the Big Boss and Tito runs the operations in the United States. The capabilities of the organization rivals that of most governments including those of the U.S.
Kay Hamilton is an Agent in the D.E.A. office in San Diego. She had made her reputation as an undercover agent in Miami, Florida (in every sense of the term undercover). After her cover is blown in Miami, Kay is transferred to Southern California. Her biggest task is to bring down Tito Olivera. Kay recruits Tito’s girlfriend to plant bugs and to report conversations and plans to Kay. As a result of these insider tips, Kay is able to arrest Tito on a murder charge. Now the fun and games begin.
An ambush planned by Caesar to free Tito ends in disaster for the law enforcement entities. Tito is then incarcerated at Camp Pendleton’s jail. Kay is forced to lead an attempt to break him out of that jail. Kay’s estranged 15 -year-old daughter (wait, what?) is being held hostage by Caesar. Never get between a mother and her offspring! The story is riveting with surprises galore as Kay and the Oliveras face off in San Diego and Tijuana.
The story is fast paced. U.S. border operations and the war against drugs with Mexico are explored. The D.E.A. is talked about a lot in the news today, but I never realized exactly how it operates. I have a much better understanding after reading this book. If you like police procedurals, this is for you. If you like international thrillers, this book is for you as well.
–Jim Harris, retired sales rep
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