The Queen of the South is a fast-paced thriller with the most unlikely of heroines, Teresa Mendoza, the girlfriend of a drug runner and pilot, Guero Davila in Sinaloa, Mexico. The book starts with Teresa’s special phone ringing, the phone that is the indication her lover is dead and they are coming for her. With the ringing of the phone, we are thrust into Teresa’s world, one of drug trafikkers, killers and mafiosos. Teresa has to think fast, run fast and outwit the people coming to kill her simply because she was Davila’s woman. Riverte takes us on a wild chase with this daring and soon to be dangerous woman. We explore the underbelly of Mexico, Spain and Morocco as Teresa’s life changes and she becomes a woman to be reckoned with – The Queen of the South.
At times frightening and always thrilling the book spans 12 years and follows Teresa and a host of characters. There is the frantic escape from Culiacan, the deadly boat race from the law while running drugs with her new lover, a boat ride that lands her in prison and many other fascinating bits of her life.
Riverte, who unabashedly emulates Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo creates the most amazing Edmund Dantes in Teresa. The Chateau D’If is the prison El Puerto de Santa Maria, where Teresa meets her spoiled drug addicted partner Patty who will eventually lead her to a fortune. Teresa, however becomes the leader and dominates the world in which Patty taught her to live in.
The Queen of the South is a fascinating look in the world of the underbelly of the world we live in. Teresa is not your typical character and honestly, I didn’t like her, but you don’t have to like her to be caught up in her world, to be swept away before you know it. Arturo Perez-Riverte has written yet another captivating and interesting novel with fast-paced narrative, elaborate story and scary characters.