Ciudad Jurez lies just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. A once-thriving border town, it now resembles a failed state. Infamously known as the place where women disappear, its murder rate exceeds that of Baghdad. Last year 1,607 people were killeda number that is on pace to increase in 2009. In Murder City, Charles Bowdenone of the few journalists who has spent extended periods of time in Jurezhas written an extraordinary account of what happens when a city disintegrates. Interweaving stories of its inhabitantsa raped beauty queen, a repentant hitman, a journalist fleeing for his lifewith a broader meditation on the towns descent into anarchy, Bowden reveals how Jurezs culture of violence will not only worsen, but inevitably spread north. Heartbreaking, disturbing, and unforgettable, Murder City establishes Bowden as one of our leading writers working at the height of his powers.
Charles Bowden, the recipient of a Lannan Literary Award and the Sidney Hillman Award, is the critically acclaimed author of numerous books, including "Down by the River" and "Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing." He is a contributing editor for "GQ" and "Mother Jones," and also writes for "Harper-s," the "New York Times Book Review," "Esquire," and "Aperture." He lives in Tucson, Arizona.