Buried Secrets: A True Story of Drug Running, Black Magic, and Human Sacrifice

Edward Humes, Author Dutton Books $21.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-525-24946-7
Although others have written of the mass killings in Matamoros, Mexico, between 1985 and 1988, Pulitzer Prize winner Humes of the Orange County Register in California offers here the definitive study. Cult leader Adolfo Constanzo, a bisexual Cuban-American devoted to the Afro-Caribbean religion of Santeria and its black-magic offshoot Palo Mayombe, set himself up as a magician and fortune teller in Mexico City in the mid-'80s. Constanzo soon attracted disciples, who obeyed him out of either fear or love, and he saw that more money was to be made from drugs than from reading cards. As his involvement with the drug trade increased, so did the torture-murders he asserted were necessary to sustain his power. The kidnapping and ritual murder of American student Mark Kilroy eventually brought about his downfall; Constanzo was killed in a shoot-out and most of his chief followers sentenced to prison. Humes provides an extensive background examining Caribbean religions and pseudo-religions, the feuds between federal and local police in Mexico and between the DEA and customs officials in the U.S., and, most intriguingly, the power of superstition south of the border. One of the best true-crime tales in recent time. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
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