...Melissa del Bosque’s fast-paced true-crime tale about a Mexican drug cartel and the Texas cops who chase it... Bloodlines is the story of Lawson’s big shot at dismantling a drug cartel: in this case, the Zetas, a brutal crew of Mexican commandos... What saves Bloodlines from devolving into the gratuitous gore that fills the pages of Mexico’s blood-soaked tabloid media — the so-called Red Notes, or notas rojas — is the unique, binational crime that Lawson is investigating: a colorful money-laundering operation... An investigative reporter who has covered the border for publications like Time and The Guardian for nearly two decades, del Bosque based her account on scores of personal interviews and reams of court documents, and proves herself fluent in detailing the exceedingly different, but equally rich, milieus of cartel kingpins, Texas equestrians and federal investigators ...does provide a penetrating glimpse of borderland culture set within the context of a briskly moving police procedural ...an array of unusual and interesting characters.
...absorbing true story of how a Mexican drug lord became a major player in American quarter horse racing ... In Bloodlines, the author gives us both the engrossing drama of a police procedural — from seeming dead ends to panic-stricken emergencies — and a scrupulous journalistic account of a significant episode in the drug wars. The personal crises that her protagonists endure during their investigation enhance the reader’s involvement in the narrative, but, Ms. del Bosque says, she never took the liberty of inventing dialogue.
In Bloodlines, Melissa del Bosque tracks a sprawling web of cocaine and quarter horses spanning the Rio Grande ... Operating in between are the book’s true subjects: the law enforcement officers, criminal operators, and citizens of the Texas/Mexico border ... Set from 2009 to 2013 during the rise of the Zeta cartel, Bloodlines details the FBI’s investigation into Zetas boss Miguel Treviño’s horse racing empire ... By virtue of keeping her reporting clean and concise, del Bosque easily steers readers through Treviño’s international financial crimes spiked with brutality — the kind that would make Michael Lewis’ usual suspects blush ...she [del Bosque] brings a slice of the abstracted drug war into heart-rending focus, turning the bloody diamond before her loupe so that each facet becomes clear ... As the eyetooth-flashing nationalists come blinking into the light, del Bosque’s book is a reminder of what many of the immigrants who fled Mexico and Central America have faced. They are refugees from a war they did not start, victims of an appetite that is not their own.
Del Bosque, a National Magazine Award–winning investigative reporter for the Texas Observer, chronicles the FBI’s discovery of a Mexican cartel’s elaborate scheme to launder money through the U.S. purchase and racing of quarter horses ... Del Bosque breaks up the complex tale into brief, fluidly narrated, suspenseful chapters. Fully portraying the many key players and following the intricacies of the Treviños’ sophisticated plan, the FBI’s race against other federal agencies and the press to crack it, the gut-dropping dynamics of cartel coercion and retribution, and the eventual, dramatic trial, del Bosque recounts a true story that reads like crime fiction.
For nearly two decades, Melissa del Bosque, an award-winning investigative reporter with the Texas Observer, has made it her mission to bring those stories to light. In her new book, Bloodlines: The True Story of a Drug Cartel, the FBI, and the Battle for a Horse-Racing Dynasty, del Bosque delves into one of the most fascinating drug war cases in recent memory, detailing how key members of the Zetas cartel were brought down after a sprawling, multi-year federal investigation revealed the organization had laundered millions of dollars into the high-stakes — often shady — world of quarter horse racing ... Capitalizing on her extraordinary access, del Bosque follows the two agents over multiple years as their investigation burrows deeper into the inner workings of the Zetas... With its rich characters, competing agendas, and inherently dramatic storyline, Bloodlines reads like a movie, and so it comes as little to surprise that it will be one.
Bloodlines is more an anatomy of an investigation ... Del Bosque moves quickly through the case’s background and brings us to Lawson and his efforts to penetrate the Zetas’ horse business ... Her cast of characters in the federal agencies, most of whom were accessible to her, is larger, which gives readers more names to keep track of, but also shows how sprawling the investigation was ... Del Bosque’s take is also more journalistic, down to the extensive citations in the back of the book, and it stitches together in an understandable way the Zetas’ complex money-laundering apparatus, its weaknesses and how the feds exploited them ... This just-the-facts approach spares the readers some of [Joe] Tone’s supposition about what characters who weren’t interviewed must have been thinking, but she doesn’t go far beyond the narrative itself.
In her first book, Texas Observer investigative reporter del Bosque follows new agent Scott Lawson and his eventual partner, identified here with a pseudonym because she has family in Mexico, as they work with Tyler Graham, the young owner of a horse farm, to uncover a money laundering scheme set into motion by the Zetas, a violent cartel controlled by the Treviño family. The author describes scenes of action in suspenseful detail without neglecting the more mundane aspects of the investigation...has a clear understanding of the often counterproductive conflicts among the various government agencies working the drug war in Texas... While the account is, as might be expected, skewed toward the points of view of those participants who were willing to talk with her, particularly Lawson, the author skillfully uses a variety of sources to convey the intricacies of a complicated case and builds in bits of background without slowing down the movement of the story.