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El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin
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El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  638 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
In this unprecedented and chilling monologue, a repentant Mexican hitman tells the unvarnished truth about the war on drugs on the American. El Sicario is the hidden face of America's war on drugs. He is a contract killer who functioned as a commandante in the Chihuahuan State police, who was trained in the US by the FBI, and who for twenty years kidnapped, tortured and mu
Paperback, 345 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Nation Books (first published April 18th 2011)
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This self proclaimed queen of procrastination has finally finished her book.

*Literally me after reading El Sicario*


You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge. not really

This book has more drama than a telenovela. El Sicario did what he had to do. He didn't choose the thug life. The thug life chose him. Or was it the other way around?

Here's the real reason he (likely) made the wrong career choice. Poverty.

But let's start at the beginning. I've been intrigued by el sicario
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mafia, no-ficcion
"The sicario takes us to the real Latin America, not a place of magical realism, but a place of murderous realism."

Me gusto el libro, odie la historia que cuenta.
Siempre lo he dicho, si quieren leer gore o crueldad, no es necesario buscar en la ficción, léanse un libro con relatos de la realidad del narcotráfico y estos si que te enchinan la piel.

La estructura de la historia en si es muy mala, la narrativa y traducción nos quedan debiendo. Como libro solo merecería 2 estrellas. Pero hay q
Aug 03, 2011 rated it liked it
The whole book is a monologue of one man's involvement as an assassin for a cartel operating out of Juarez; it is every bit as disturbing and realistic as you might (not even be able to) imagine.

His is a story of some redemption, telling his tale on the run with his family constantly hiding from the blowback of his history; it is compelling because it is such a dire story.

But, aside from the introduction and a few asides by el sicario, the whole hows, what and whys are largely absent from this t
Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Having lived in Mexico, been robbed in Mexico, and been kidnapped in Mexico - there isn't anything in this book I don't believe. This is a simple retelling of an underworld life from the viewpoint of a hired murderer. It could've used better editing but the matter-of-fact narrative is mostly effective. Like Bowden says, "There are things no one wants to know. And there are lies everyone wants to hear." This book discusses most of these things and lies as they relate to the cartels and the cultur ...more
Paul Massignani
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the only book of its kind. For a cartel assassin to not only escape from his former occupation alive, then willingly share in plain language how it gutted him in every way possible, this is a rare thing. Long after getting out of the business, he decided to marry a girl he'd met in the south of Mexico, where he'd been working an honest job. To do this, he had to submit his real name to the local authorities, along with his address. The cartel hitmen were stalking him around town within t ...more
Oct 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
Plus points for this book are that it provides a shocking and horrific account of the conditions in the city which has the highest murder rate in the world; Juarez. This is told from the perspective of a former sicario, or hit man who was an active duty police officer who conducted kidnappings and killings on behalf of the Juarez cartel.

The downside is that the first hand account acts as a double edges sword. While it allows information to be gained from the horses mouth, it also consists of con
Pickle Farmer
Dark shit
Dec 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
I picked up this book for a short read on a subject that interests me -- and in that regard, the book fulfilled the objective. However, if you are hoping for quality investigative journalism, you will be profoundly disappointed -- the sicario's personal story does not ring true and has all of the hallmarks of an imposter.

By saying that I do not believe his story, I am not saying that I don't believe in the real-life kidnappings that undoubtedly occur many times daily, the brutal executions carri
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
A dog's breakfast of a supposedly two-day long confessional by a former cartel hitman (sicario) as part of a documentary film. The title says autobiography, but it is most certainly not that, though there are biographical elements. The book supposedly has two editors, but in the introduction they take great pride in saying that the pages to follow are raw, elemental, the untouched story of a killer who got out of the game. Well, in truth, because of the lack of editing, the story grows repetitio ...more
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
This memoir of sorts forms the basis of a movie by Italian film maker Gianfranco Rosi "El Sicario: Room 164". Though he is never identified for obvious reasons, this purports to be the story of this individuals role as a killer and long association with a Mexican drug cartel before he escaped and found religion. Long, tedious, salcious it's everything you might expect if you're familiar with the work of "journalist" Charles Bowden who is hell bent on exposing the ruinous goings on of the mexican ...more
Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, crime
While this is a candid and honest account of one man's time as a cartel hit man I was expecting more detail. I'm not sure whether this was deliberately left out or whether he just couldn't remember it I don't know but either way I was expecting and hoping for a more in depth account. It was also a little rambly and a couple of things were repeated, which confused me at first as I thought I'd mis-read or misunderstood something but hadn't. The events he does detail are disturbing although they ar ...more
Jordan Parkhurst
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
The content is incredibly interesting, but the "authors'" choice to let the Sicario determine the flow and organization was disastrous (as were their spotted and less than academic citations). He often seemed to exaggerate for effect, repeated himself and used cliched phrases. They should've saved the power of his story by couching it in a well organized story, complete with second hand source documents and people.
Nov 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Terrible and fascinating.
Juan Duarte
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
Powerful story. Sseems difficult to believe that things have gotten that bad in the border region. One has to wonder the extent of US involvement with this whole situation.
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this a couple of years ago and have been thinking about it a lot recently.. An incredible account of a man who used to be a part of the infamous Mexican drug cartel scene. The sicario tells his own story about how he was swept into the business of torture, blackmail, extortion, and murder.. In one particularly gruesome account, he speaks of kidnapping the wife of a man who owed money to the cartel. Everyday the man didn't pay up, the sicario describes cutting off one of the wife's fingers ...more
Ken Rasmussen
While it was a semi-interesting read at times on account of the inside description of how the Narcos operate e.g. in cell-like structures and the sheer organization behind it all, it really is just another story about a sociopath, an aberration in human evolution.
I recently read Charlie Bowden's "Murder City" in which this guy also appears and if you compare the two books there are quite a number of discrepancies in what he says and his angle on things and over all it is obvious that he only te
Donna Kubiak
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
chilling.....really scarey to have psycopaths among us
Deyth Banger
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018
"May 24, 2018 –
70.0% "In this game... everybody have blood in his hands...


The game is bloody... and shakes each spiriti!"
May 24, 2018 –
70.0% "1:43:07

May 24, 2018 –
50.0% "It's insane shit... if we look it from a POV of shitty it goes..."
May 24, 2018 –
50.0% "This story is a real assasin... a real killer.


Deep down there are secrets which are waiting to get expose... cartel and deep shitty work... that's what this story is all about...


Can you swallow so much?"
May 24, 2018 –
Jonathan Adams
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Tome este libro hace aproximadamente 5 años (quizás más) cuando en aquel entonces no había tecnología para escribir un review. Finalmente aquí les comento que me dejo con ganas de terminarlo cuando antes y cambiar al siguiente libro. Es una historia algo monótona, y esperaba más drama, más envolvimiento, más palabras que pudieran darme una imagen visual de lo que es la situación en México. Es un buen libro más no lo recomendaría debido a la falta de contenido.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book is told in the most uninteresting way possible, there is no story of loss and then redemption merely a list of horrors and then an empty and unsatisfying conversion to Christianity with little examination of his actions but an empty salvation. I found myself sometimes not believing him and just as often not caring.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The incredible attention to detail adds to the authenticity. The book kept me constantly between disgust and sympathy for the Sicario as he carries out the orders and later fights with his emotions and a path to redemption.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's an incredible story about the life of a sicario (hitman) in dangerous, corrupt Mexico. It's a true account straight from his mouth (transcribed and translated from a recording). His turn to God was inspiring, and I was encouraged by his testimony.
Steev Hise
May 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime, border
This book falls into the category recently invented by the Wonkette blog: "Things You Never Knew About Mexico But Now That I Know It Can I Unknow It?" or something like that.

"El Sicario" is the story of a Mexican guy who was involved with the narcotrafficking cartels in Juarez for years, and then got out, just barely, and because he's still wanted by his old bosses he agreed to tell his story for a filmmaker and the editors of this book only if it was done without his real name, with a hood ove
Effie Perine
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
I read this book not sure what to expect. I mean, yeah, drug cartels, Mexicans, assassins, and a whole lot of drama, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was surprised to find the story of an ordinary man who watched himself deform into something inhuman altogether. He had taken a certain path that no man should take. He admits his numerous mistakes. He shares what it was all like from beginning to end as one big reflection of his life--the joys, the pains, the perfections, and the imperfections. H ...more
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is strange that I was reading this book, side by side to Shooter written by Gunnery Sgt Jack Coughlin. It is like visiting to two strange worlds. One highly steeped in honor and another highly steeped in gaining and maintaining respect.

Shocking to hear what the state of Mexico is due to the Narco- trades and one can understand the level of corruption. India is very similar in that nature, corruption is bred from the lowest tier to the highest. Mostly not because of Narcotics gangs however. I
Aram Leary
Jul 05, 2011 rated it liked it
A wonderful story of one man living a life most of us can't even imagine, and risking it all to leave it behind. El Sicario tells the story of a man trained by the Mexican police, and the FBI, all the while working for the drug cartels. This book is told in his own words, as told to reporters as he is in hiding in the US. The way this reads has good points and bad points. The casual way he describes torturing people, and bringing them back from the brink of death, only to torture them more is re ...more
Samuel Mustri
Feb 07, 2012 rated it liked it
A fast read, "El Sicario" is a raw trip into the heart of darkness. In his preface Charles Bowden wonders if the Sicario is not only a figure out of modern Mexico, but from our future as a whole. The Sicario provides fascinating details on how drugs are transported, officials bought off and political alliances made. Mexicans seem to keep falling into the lure of material possessions with un-match appetite. The collapse of the Mexican society is in direct coloration with their belief system. If y ...more
Shane Kiely
I've read a bit about the Mexican drug war so a lot of the ground covered here was familiar to me. There are some interesting tidbits but I think the books big selling point is a bit of a weakness. The book prides itself on being word for word, the personal account of a sicario (Mexican Cartel assassin) & his life. I found this approach causes the book had ramble on a bit too much & the subject has something of a tendency to repeat himself. An account written by a writer cherry picking t ...more
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Allegedly a direct transcription of a narco enforcer's reminiscences and regrets, chilling in its detail, harrowing in its naked assessment of the socio-political troubles in Mexico stemming from the drug wars. The sicario claims, for instance, that a quarter of all cadets in Mexican police academies are on narco payrolls before they're even out of training. Sometimes just plain horrifying and repugnant, EL SICARIO is also brutally honest in the best way and necessary reading to get a peak behin ...more
Angel Sanabria
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography, mexico
Estremecedor relato de un hombre que pasó por el valle de la muerte, sirviendo al crimen organizado, y quien al final encontró la luz. Su testimonio no es sólo un relato personal, sino el análisis de una red de corrupción social que alcanza a las mismas esferas del gobierno, en donde delincuentes y autoridades se han coludido para secuestrar a un país, México, portador de grandes riquezas humanas y naturales, cuyo pueblo se niega a vivir aprisionado y confía en que son la justicia, la paz y la s ...more
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