If the angels ever visited Juarez looking for the proverbial one good man, I'm afraid they'd either be kidnapped, murdered, or probably both before their search was over.
In his dark, non-fiction novel, Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields, Charles Bowden takes you by the hand and gives a guided tour of one of the lower hells that's just across the border from El Paso, Texas.
On your journey through this third-world dystopia, you travel to an impoverished insane asylum out in the desert ran by El Pastor, who collects from the streets of Juarez those whose lives were shattered by torture, drugs, gang rape, and a host of other horrors. From there you'll visit the "death houses" where underneath floors and patios the anonymous dead wait to be found. You'll cruise the streets at dawn to find the bodies bound with silver and gray duct tape at hands, feet, and mouth, deposited the night before. You'll also meet a sicario, an assassin, who speaks of his childhood, his time in the Mexican state police and the FBI academy, and finally his plunge into "the life" where he has since racked up over 250 murders becoming a highly sought after "murder artist".
At each point on your journey, Bowden stops and makes you look, he makes you bear witness as he has done for almost 20 years, to the unacknowledged, unreported disintegration of not only a city, but of an entire country.
From the nearly ubiquitous corruption in all branches of the Mexican government, military, and police forces to the members of drug cartels living like kings surrounded by grinding poverty to American factories paying starvation wages, Bowden drags it all into the light for us to see.
This book does not pull any punches: While Murder City is a vital, important work, it's also a dark and disturbing read. But throughout it rings true.
Charles Bowden has opened my eyes to a world I could never have imagined prior to reading Murder City.
Take the ride.