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Literary Hall of James GoodReads Review: Queen of the South

The Queen of the South
The Queen of the South by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Arturo Pérez-Reverte is fast becoming one of my all-time favorite authors. Like, Guy Johnson, (Standing at the Scratch Line, Echoes of a Distant Summer) he writes my favorite kind of story. He typically writes the action adventure narrative with a historical element merged into its story telling. The story here, “Queen of the South”, deviates from the pattern established in his tales that feature Captain Alatriste. Still, it’s good reading.

‘Queen’ centers around Teresa Mendoza, one of my four favorite fictional female characters of all time. Her story revolves around two distinct dynamics that influences her adventures. The first is her caterpillar to butterfly like metamorphosis from ordinary hard working peasant girl enamored by her drug runner, pilot, boyfriend linked with the Sinaloa drug cartel to the formidable yet mysterious ruler of the underworld who ruthlessly earns her title La Reina del Sur- Queen of the South. The second factor at hand is her incredible good fortune. Critics might call it luck, others would call it fate. I call it making lemonade highs out of the lemon lows life throws your way.

The rags to riches waitress to warlord story didn’t come without a price. Teresa took some lumps on the road from lowly to luminous. Also, it took some really good fortune. Teresa could have died on at least three occasions-but didn’t. Teresa could have stayed in jail longer-but didn’t. She could have lived a much more harrowing existence while in jail. However, it helps to know people in low places.

The author’s skillful writing took this reader on a book journey that I could not put down. (see bio) Whereas, I could not put it down, television people could not resist from picking it up. (Transparency warning, I have not ever watched the telenova version of “Queen” nor its USA network counterpart) It is that good. And, on top of that the novel offers a tease of a sequel to arrive in the future. They say it’s better to be lucky than good. Well, Teresa was both and her story was awesome.


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