Jack Sloan follows a trail between Juarez and Santa Fe with stops in El Paso and Phoenix. It begins and ends in the barrancos of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains north of Santa Fe with Jack’s discovery of a satchel full of cash. Jack tells his wife Darlene about his find, and they’re both sucked into the most dangerous mystery of their lives.
The money is tied to the kidnapping/murder of Robert Pendleton, a prominent New York hedge fund manager. The hostage is taken in Juarez, released and killed in New Mexico, and the Mexican AFI and U.S. FBI work together to solve the case. High-profile publicity is not something either government wants. Carlos Santiago, the AFI agent assigned to the case, and Frank Hunter, his FBI counterpart, know that something doesn’t fit, but they need Jack’s help to find out what.
Pendelton’s beautiful and sensual wife is connected, but the how remains as much of a mystery as what a man like him was doing in the outskirts of Juarez in the first place.
Five hundred million missing from Pendleton’s hedge fund leads the AFI and FBI to the conclusion that the kidnap victim may have staged his own abduction because his Ponzi scheme was about to be undone by a falling stock market. It also provides five hundred million reasons for everyone to be so interested in his life and death.
Under pressure from the FBI for his possible link to three-year old crimes, Jack travels to Juarez to meet with El Jefe, Jack’s nickname for the cartel boss/politician who claims to have information the Feds want—information passed to him by Rosa Lara, the kidnap victim’s mistress and a woman El Jefe desires. Cartel war rages in the city and Jack makes a narrow escape.
The background beat goes on as the relentless killer pursues the satchel of cash Jack found. He stashes bloody corpses along his trail, and his skill as a tracker and hunter of men leave law enforcement bewildered.
Love, greed, and betrayal drive the characters and their stories. It comes to a surprising end in the same place it started—the hauntingly beautiful barrancos of the high desert.