cover image Rosarito Beach

Rosarito Beach

M.A. Lawson. Penguin/Blue Rider, $26.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-399-16573-3

Single-minded San Diego, Calif., DEA agent Kay Hamilton doesn’t hesitate to go to the mat—or the mattress, if it comes to that—to take down her target, as is evident early in this fast-paced, if far-fetched, thriller, the debut of a new brand from Lawson (House Odds and seven other Joe DeMarco novels). The ballsy blonde succeeds in apprehending Tito Olivera—a U.S. distributor for his older brother, Mexican drug kingpin Caesar Olivera—after strong-arming Tito’s live-in girlfriend into planting bugs in their house. But Kay’s careful plans begin to implode when the Olivera cartel stages a military-style strike to rescue Tito as he’s being transferred to court. Meanwhile, a total game changer arrives in the form of a stranger connected to Kay’s past. Lawson knows how to script action-packed suspense, but proves far less adept with character—particularly his main one, who for much of the novel could just as well be called Ken without making the story skip a beat. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company. (Jan.)