The AP had an article earlier this week on the increased presence of the Mexican cartels in the US, effectively a series of grizzly crimes interspersed with quotes from a DEA official with a terrific name: Rusty Payne.
This reminds article is a like a 1,00-word version of the stereotypical Mexican drug book, such as those by Ricardo Ravelo. It bounces from one brutal anecdote to another, without much of a thematic thread aside from, Mexico (or in this case, the US) is f'd. This isn't so much a criticism of the reporting as it is a reflection of the thematic breadth of the war on drugs. It's simply impossible to find a simple explanation or a narrow theme that encompasses all of the Mexican drug gangs' activities, from Tijuana to Cancún to Laredo to Atlanta to Chicago. The most coherent books (and articles) don't aim to summarize everything, but they rather wring everything possible out of a very small piece of the puzzle. The more ambitious books (or articles) that aim to explain everything always fall flat for me. That's why Down by the River is better reading than Herencia Maldita, and why Daniel Kurtz-Phelan's piece on Genaro García Luna was more memorable than other similar articles appearing at the same time.