Sam Hawken

samhawkenSam Hawken’s first novel, The Dead Women of Juarez was published in the UK, France and Germany and shortlisted for the CWA “New Blood” Dagger Award 2011. He is also the author of Tequila Sunset (nominated for the Gold Dagger 2013),

La Frontera and of a number of short stories. Sam Hawken’s fiction embraces a broad spectrum of genres and involves extensive research, authentic flavour and a devotion to dealing with issues both historical and contemporary.

Author’s website:



Missing HawkenJack Searle, a former Marine, lives a life of quiet domesticity in Laredo, one of the poorest cities in Texas. His wife dead, he raises the teenaged daughters she had from a previous marriage and works as a private contractor. Once a month, they venture across the border into Nuevo Laredo, to visit the girls’ Mexican cousins. It’s when Jack’s eldest step-daughter, Marina, asks to attend an evening concert on the Mexican side accompanied only by her cousin, that things go wrong. Against his better judgment, Jack allows the trip. Marina and her cousin do not return home that night or the next day…

Jack seeks help from the US consulate and the Mexican authorities, but it is only police inspector Gonzalo Soler who seems to care. As Gonzalo begins an investigation, the entire police force is relieved of duty on corruption charges and the Mexican army takes control of the city.

Jack funds further investigation out of his own pocket, and he and Gonzalo cut a bloody path through the dangerous streets of the city. Can they hope to find the truth and escape alive or shall they pay with their lives for the knowledge of what was done?

Published by Serpent’s Tail, 2012. Rights held: world

Nominated for the Gold Dagger & Finalist of the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2015


Fronterax2700In La Frontera, Hawken illuminates the darkest sides of the illegal migration issue.

Ana Torres is a Texas Ranger assigned to a dusty outpost to protect the border. When she discovers the body of a dead crosser, the stage is set for an investigation and a confrontation in the nighttime desert. Luis González lives on the Mexican side, helping those who seek a better life in the north while looking for peace in his own way.

Marisol Herrera, a border crosser chasing a dream, braves dangers on her journey from the high mountains of El Salvador to the sun-blasted flats of the Mexico/Texas border and the realities of la frontera.

Published by Betimes Books, 2013. Rights sold: Germany (Polar Verlag)


Tequila SunsetEl Paso and Ciudad Juárez share streets, share industry, share crime. One gang claims territory in both: Los Aztecas. Felipe Morales is one of them. Recruited in prison, and now on the streets of El Paso, “Flip” has no choice but to step further into that world, but he has a secret that could mean his life.  Witness to murder and intimidation, he tries one desperate gamble to get out.

El Paso detective Cristina Salas struggles to balance the needs of single motherhood, and the parenting of a disabled child, with those of life in the city’s gang unit.

When her path crosses with Felipe, their relationship will spell the difference between a life behind bars for the young gang member, a grisly death or freedom.

Published by Serpent’s Tail, 2012. Rigths sold: France (Belfond); Turkey (Tünel)

Nominated for the Gold Dagger 2013


Dead women of JuarezAcross the US/Mexico border from El Paso is the city of Ciudad Juárez, an industrial zone dominated by the maquiladoras, massive factories producing American consumer goods at Mexican labor rates.  People make a life in Ciudad Juárez despite an ongoing battle between the authorities and two rival drug cartels. But forgotten amid all of this are the crimes called feminicidios, the female murders.

Kelly Courter is an American living in the city. He has fled Texas and started a new life as a punching bag in local boxing matches and as a drug mule for his Mexican friend, Estéban. He’s also involved in a relation Paloma, who has a personal crusade in the dead women of Juárez. When Paloma disappears and her violated body turns up in a field not far from his apartment, he becomes the number one suspect in her death.

Published by Serpent’s Tail, 2011. Rigths sold: Germany (Tropen/KlettCotta); France (Belfond)

Finalist of the New Blood Dagger 2012


“As ferocious to read as it is soul wrenching.”  —Ken Bruen

“A hard-boiled plunge into damaged lives that grippingly evokes the dust, decay and pervading sense of death in Juárez, leaving you with a lingering sense of sweaty unease.”   —Metro

“A tense, gripping read and a plea for justice.”   —Sunday Times

“A fascinating, tense and engaging read.”    —CrimeSquad

“Hawken’s words will keep you hooked until the very last sentence.” —New York Journal of Books

“Any aspiring crime writer, or student of crime writing, in need of a lesson (or refresher course) in modern noir fiction could do no better than invest in a copy of “Missing” by Sam Hawken. This is strong meat and not to everyone’s taste, but undeniably powerful and tinged with sadness.” —