Member Reviews

The title is 'spot on', perfectly descriptive of the contents of the book. The book takes the reader to a community in Mexico that is over run by 'warring' drug cartels.....it's a horrible true crime story that tells about daily life there, about some of the over 100,000 people who have 'just disappeared', it tells of the widespread corruption in an ineffective government, mishandling & bungling of evidence, & about how one amazing woman fought (almost by herself!) for years trying to find those responsible for her daughter's disappearance & to bring them to justice. It's kind of a long drawn out story of horrible chaos.... I can't imagine how long & drawn out the real life quest was. At times it was almost hard to comprehend, & keep reading.........it's kind of a tough read.....but this family's story needs to be told/heard. Extensive, documented research.....
I received a digital ARC from publisher Random House via NetGalley for review purposes.

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An intense story slowly told. I was interested in this book but wish it dug deeper into the cartels or was shorter. It was a lot of rehashing.

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An authentic and gripping novel which brings to light the atrocities of the drug cartels.
Many thanks to Random House and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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This book is a hard, sad, yet good book. When Miriam Rodríguez Martínez’s youngest child, Karen, went missing, the authorities just didn’t care and were not investigating the disappearance the way her mother that they should. It seems like she wasn’t asking for much-help finding her daughter and to know what happened to her. Apparently, the cartels and the government, thought that was too big of an ask and she paid for her work with her life. I enjoyed reading how her advocacy for the disappeared morphed into a movement where she became the national face of the pain families deal with when they are left without answers and hope because their loved one is gone and the only people with answers are not talking. This is an issue where urgent action from the international is needed. If this many people disappeared or were killed in this country, it would a top priority with all our resources thrown towards it.

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What a stunner! Azam Ahmed has written a story that seems like the next best action thriller, and while it is a thriller, it's all 100% true. Miriam lives in a town that the Mexican Cartel Zeta is starting to overtake. Even to shutting down the town at one point with an unbelievable shoot out between Zeta and the local police. What happens next, is the town tries to recover. The only problem is, Zeta becomes out of control, 'disappearing' the locals to hold for ransom, even kidnapping some more than once just for the money. Miriam, like the rest of the townspeople, tries to keep her head down and continues her normal every day life, until...her daughter is kidnapped as well. What happens next is a mother who becomes frustrated with the lack of attention and action of the local police department that she takes matters into her own hands and hires someone to take care of two of her daughters captors. Only, she realizes that the plan doesn't leave her room to ask questions and find out all who are involved, so Miriam changes tactics and starts filing reports with the police as she tracks down people, names, addresses, phone numbers, and keeps filing reports to leave a paper trail of evidence that will help her hold those responsible for their actions. The story is unbelievable, but it's just heartbreakingly true. Highly recommend!!!
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my own opinion*

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I really enjoyed this! This is the story of a mother searching for her daughters' killer and getting revenge for her murder. Overall, I would recommend this! Special Thank You to Azam Ahmed, Random House Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to read a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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If you have any trepidation about visiting Mexico this might not be the book to read. I didn’t know much about the rising of the cartels, but after this I know more than I care to.
This was a heartbreaking book about a mother getting revenge one cartel member at a time for the death of her daughter. I found it very informative but it seemed repetitive. It was long and the repetitiveness didn’t help.
It’s a worthwhile read if you are interested in the going’s on south of the border.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for a honest opinion.

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Miriam Rodríguez hunts the cartel members she suspects were involved in the murder of her daughter, Karen. After paying ransom money and asking for help from the Mexican authorities (and not getting anywhere), she decides to fearlessly hunt the killers down. An in depth look at the cartels in Mexico and one brave woman's vow to make them pay. Well written and researched.

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In 2014, while driving down the street in her hometown of San Fernando, twenty year old Karen Rodriguez was abducted by armed men from México’s Zeta cartel, forced into their vehicle and held for ransom. After several attempts to get her daughter back, Miriam Rodriguez comes to discover her daughter has been murdered.

Nothing is more powerful than a mother’s love, and Miriam was FIERCE in her determination to turn her family’s grief into justice. For three years, largely on her own, she hunted down the men she knew to be responsible for Karen’s death.

Ahmed brings us a riveting account of not only Miriam’s unflinching resolve, but an insightful look into the cartels, how they came to be, and how deeply they have terrorized the country. Torn apart by violence and government indifference, the people of México persevere. Miriam was a shining example of that.

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There are very few things to be sure of in this world. One thing I am sure of is that Miriam Rodriguez is not someone you should ever mess with.

Fear is Just a Word by Azam Ahmed follows the actions of Miriam as she tracks down the people who kidnapped and murdered her daughter, Karen. Does this sound like the plot of a revenge fantasy film? Yes. Is it 100% true? Also yes. Miriam is a perfect case study in a mother who will never take no for an answer. Even if she walks away, she will be coming back. Ahmed highlights that Miriam's actions are in even more stark when you consider that her story takes place in Mexico where the drug trade has destroyed the country. I can't overstate this enough. Miriam Rodriguez is a certified bad***.

Ahmed does a good job with the story. It is a bit distracting when he does not tell the story in a linear timeline. Often, it leads to repeating facts and names as well as confusing the reader about where we are in time. Ahmed is a seasoned reporter so these quibbles don't sink the story. Miriam made that impossible.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Random House.)

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The loss of a child is something that many never face. However, in this novel, Miriam Rodriguez turns her grief and anger at the loss of her child toward something greater, justice. This nonfiction books takes us into the underworld of drugs, gangs, and what violence can do to a family, community, and nation. Miriam’s daughter, Karen has been kidnapped and subsequently murdered by a known drug cartel and Miriam will not rest until the perpetrator is either brought to justice or deceased. As discovered through this harrowing, realistic account of true events, Miriam attempted to use the legal system to gain justice for her daughter and when that didn’t work, she took matters into her own hands. Azam Ahmed puts on display the Mexican drug cartel and violence that has taken so many lives. This book was impossible to put down, with the realistic events, portrayals, and storytelling. It brought shivers to my spine when Miriam was in life threatening situations and boldly faced them in the name of justice for Karen. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance review copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for this ARC. I was really excited to be chosen to read this, a book that falls well within my reading interests. My opinion, of course, are my own.

This is an extremely well written, thoughtful, moving story about a mother's grief and her commitment to use that grief to get justice. While there are some redundancies, it's a compulsively readable tale. The mixture of history of the development of the cartels, and the war between the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas, with the personal story of Ms. Rodriguez and Karen, takes this beyond just true crime into cultural and regional history. It also helps tell the larger story of what the drug trade, and the "War on Drugs," and American drug demand, has done to those portions of Mexico most directly implicated. Unfortunately the choice between 4 and 5 stars alone makes this difficult. I would probably put this at 4.49 stars, almost enough to round up to 5.

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An amazing true story of revenge and the pursuit of justice.

The author did an excellent job telling Miriam’s story and how she fought against the cartels and government.

I highly recommend this book if you are curious how these cartels came to be and how these brutal criminals operate.

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The incredible story of a mother who goes after a Mexican drug cartel that kidnapped her daughter. This true story is about a brave, focused, and fearless woman who finds herself having to deal with government officials, military personnel, and Zeta cartel members all while helping other families who were also trying to locate their own disappeared relatives.

A heart-wrenching and shocking read that is hard to put down.

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A terrifying look at Mexican cartels and the violence they wreak through the story of a woman trying to get revenge for the kidnapping and death of her daughter. There was a lot more history of the cartels and Mexican politics than I expected (and that I ended up skimming)--I wish the author had focused more on Miriam's story. I was also very put off by the author's fixation on Miriam's weight and gastric bypass surgery (1 star knocked off for these unnecessary, distracting, fat-phobic sections). But a compelling story, nonetheless.

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A fascinating book about issues and terror in a town in Mexico and one woman’s fight to make a difference. When her youngest daughter is kidnapped for ransom, Miriam takes on the cartel and the government to seek justice. Soon she is also aiding other families who have lost loved ones to the insanity overtaking her town.

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I didn’t know anything about the case in this story, and this book does a great job in creating a respectful informative book. Azam Ahmed does a great job in keeping me reading and how well this was written.

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Fear is Just a Word - Azem Ahmed

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this heart-rending and powerful eARC.

I am reading this book the day before Mother's Day, the perfect time to read about a mother's unwavering love of her daughter, and Mom's dedication in seeing that her daughter's killers are brought to justice (even if she must bring them to justice herself).

An account of a young woman in her wary 20:s she is kidnapped for ransom by members of a brutal San Fernando gang, in the hotbed of gang warfare

A difficult journey of love, by a mother for the daughter she lost. An amazing story, well-written and captivating, nothing should keep this 5 star novel off the bestseller lists.

Until next time, love your "loved ones"... 😘😉

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