cover image Triple Crossing

Triple Crossing

Sebastian Rotella. Little, Brown/Mulholland, $24.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-316-10530-9

Journalist Rotella (Twilight on the Line) explores the hot-button issue of immigration with its political, social, and emotional ramifications in his superb fiction debut. Rookie San Diego Border Patrol agent Valentine Pescatore on occasion slips money to the illegal immigrants he arrests, but he can't help being tainted by the violence and cruelty of his supervisor, Arleigh Garrison, whose favorite "game" is crowding as many prisoners as he can into an SUV. When Valentine chases a notorious smuggler into Tijuana, a transgression that can get him arrested, Valentine winds up recruited by attractive Isabel Puente, a U.S. federal agent who wants him to infiltrate a powerful Mexican mafia family%E2%80%94and with whom he soon falls in love. Valentine's undercover role takes him to the "triple border" of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, a lawless area that breeds smugglers and terrorists. Unflinching views of a double agent's harrowing life, a violence-drenched Mexican jail, and the wild border areas complement the provocative plot. (Aug.)