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Triple Crossing

Paperback, 08/14/2012

ISBN 9780316105224


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A gritty, fast-paced thriller about the criminal underworld at work along both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border and a young cop who goes undercover to bring it down.

Valentine Pescatore, a volatile rookie Border Patrol agent, is trying to survive the trenches of The Line in San Diego. He gets in trouble and finds himself recruited as an informant by Isabel Puente, a beautiful U.S. agent investigating a powerful Mexican crime family.

As he infiltrates the mafia, Pescatore falls in love with Puente. But he clashes with her ally Leo Mendez, chief of a Tijuana anti-corruption unit. Politically charged violence escalates, plunging Pescatore into the lawless “triple border” region of South America and a showdown full of bloodshed and betrayal.

Writing with rapid-fire intensity, Sebastian Rotella captures the despair and intrigue of the borderlands, where enforcing the law has become an act of subversion. TRIPLE CROSSING is an explosive and riveting debut.


“Sebastian Rotella’s remarkable first novel, TRIPLE CROSSING, is like putting on night goggles: you see things you never knew were there…The pounding action scenes are driven by Rotella’s ferocious prose style.” –Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

“Rotella knows how the police work, how the criminals operate and how bribes and violence subvert the law. He employs a journalist’s sharp eye and a novelist’s deft touch to give us a rich portrait of the sights, smells, sounds, beauties and dangers of life south of the border. This is an honest and engrossing journey into a world of violence and corruption that is a threat to our own well-being…reading Triple Crossing, I was reminded of movies—“Scarface”, “Blow”, “Traffic”—that take a panoramic view of the drug trade.”—Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post

“Rotella’s sharply drawn and fascinating gallery of many characters on both sides of the law play out life and death along the moral borderlines…the reader will be racing along through the pages of Rotella’s novel at near breakneck speed.” –Alan Cheuse, NPR

“In the past decade a number of excellent books have explored this fertile border territory from different perspectives. Add to that list TRIPLE CROSSING by Sebastian Rotella, a former Los Angeles Times correspondent who knows the area well.” —Los Angeles Times

A superb fiction debut…Unflinching views of a double agent’s harrowing life, a violence-drenched Mexican jail, and the wild border areas compliment the provocative plot.” —Washington Examiner

Crackling good…[Pescatore’s] uncanny ability to make bad choices and surround himself with worse thugs is a sure recipe for suspenseRich in insights about the often-tense relationship between U.S. and Mexico, “Crossing” is the first novel from Rotella, a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times and Pro Publica.  It doesn’t take a bilingual super sleuth to determine that it should not be his last.” —San Diego Union-Tribune

“Anyone who has spent time crossing between San Diego and Tijuana will recognize the sharp and accurate picture that Rotella has created in these pages…A sharply cadenced opening chapter in which Pescatore crosses into Tijuana to pursue a border-jumping small-time criminal shows that journalist Rotella knows how to write a fast-paced fictional scene.” —Dallas Morning News

“In a novel described by critics as a ‘strongly choreographed, authentically detailed, and sharply funny tale,’ the action never stops.” –Cleaveland Plain Dealer

A rip-roaring novel.”— ‘This Week’s Must Reads’ on The Daily Beast

“Crime fiction with energy and righteous indignation . . . reveals the gnarly circuitry of international collusion in greed and tyranny, the alternating currents of cooperation and betrayal, and the courageous men and women of conscience who risk all for truth and love. A strongly choreographed, authentically detailed, and sharply funny tale of cultural complexity and raging global criminality.” —Booklist

“This is one of the most accomplished first novels I have ever read. Triple Crossing is full of dangers, deep characters and a story writ on a grand scale. It gives you all of that and much more. Sebastian Rotella takes you into a world you don’t know and it’s as real as any world you do. This is an important piece of work from an author whose voice should be heard.” —Michael Connelly

“A superb debut … and unflinching views of a double agent’s harrowing life, a violence-drenched Mexican jail, and the wild border areas complement the provocative plot.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Rotella’s crime drama captures the feel of the rampant corruption that is the stuff of headlines in the United States and Mexico. This should satisfy readers far beyond the border.” —Library Journal

“The Border Boss is back. Sebastian Rotella’s last book moved as smoothly as a BMW in the rain. But Triple Crossing, his first novel, screams off the line like a big, mean, American hot-rod. The author’s profound understanding of the many hidden worlds of the border and the surreal narco wars takes this thriller into the realms of nightmare and exquisite terror. You will know things you probably shouldn’t know when you’ve crossed the finish line, running sweat. This wild ride cannot be outrun.” —Luis Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North

“Sebastian Rotella brings a first-class journalist’s eye and judgment to bear on the twin catastrophes of our border politics and drug interdiction efforts. The result is a wild ride filled with cool inside information, sardonic social commentary, and surreal portraits of mendacity, stupidity and ferocity. Triple Crossing is the best of both worlds: an intricate and compelling page-turner that’s a hugely important book, besides.” —Jim Shepard, author of You Think That’s Bad

“There have been many south-of-the-border/drug war novels, but Triple Crossing is the best one I’ve come across by a mile. Rotella, a noted investigative journalist, has a professionally-honed eye for detail that is evident on every page. This alone is impressive, but he also possesses a talent for character and narrative drive that elevates this story to the level of epic greatness.” —George Pelecanos (on his blog)