The Shadow Catcher: A U.S. Agent Infiltrates Mexico’s Deadly Mafia

Hipolito Acosta, with Lisa Pulitzer. Atria, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4516-3287-3
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This somewhat plodding account of daring (even reckless) undercover work by a zealous U.S. Border Patrol agent reflects a push to pursue “bigger fish” in the system of illegal border crossings by targeting the organized groups smuggling people from Mexico, Central and South America, and elsewhere. With colleagues in the small antismuggling units of his Chicago district office and later in El Paso, Tex., and Monterrey, Mexico, the Spanish-speaking Acosta embarks on a series of undercover missions in which he flies solo in the world traveled by migrants. Throughout, he tries to refocus enforcement energies on smugglers—crime syndicates and families—themselves. Mexican-American Acosta’s humble upbringing in a 1950s Texas border town leaves him sympathetic to those hungry and desperate enough to risk the harrowing journey north. Some readers may find the narrative self-aggrandizing, but Acosta reveals a sincere, conflicted conscience as he confronts men, women, and children caught in the clutches of opportunistic gangs or “living in fear in the land of their dreams.” As a real-life crime thriller, the book gains on-and-off-again momentum. As an analysis of the intractable immigration issue, it remains circumscribed by the author’s own orthodox, if qualified, perspective, and offers only a vague sense of the political and economic factors at work. Agent: B.G. Dilworth, Dilworth Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/06/2012
Release date: 04/17/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4516-3289-7
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4516-6671-7
Paperback - 279 pages - 978-1-4516-6647-2
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-4516-3288-0
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