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The Queen of the South

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  11,091 ratings  ·  815 reviews
Guero Davila is a pilot engaged in drug-smuggling for the local cartels. Teresa Mendoza is his girlfriend, a typical narco's morra-- quiet, doting, submissive. But then Guero's caught playing both sides, and in Sinaloa, that means death. Teresa finds herself alone, terrified, friendless and running to save her life, carrying nothing but a gym bag containing a pistol and a ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published 2005 by Picador (first published 2002)
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Barbara It is fiction, but it strings together a lot of character and situations from non-fiction.

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  11,091 ratings  ·  815 reviews

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There are three books to be found within this book, three major storylines to follow. One is mostly well done, one is middling, but has issues, one is rather ridiculous, occasionally mildly offensive, and out of place.

The first, which I found mostly well done, is Perez-Reverte's homage to the high adventure stories of the 19th century, specificially his modern update of The Count of Monte Cristo. The Count is remade into a Mexican woman of the 21st century, who is tied to the Mexican drug
Mar 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing

I'm on holiday - hurrah! This means it is time to turn my attention to the (very important) task of learning Spanish. I made two "New Year's Resolutions". One was to learn some Spanish before the year was out, the other was to keep a running list of the books I have read on this here blog. So, time to work on one of my resolutions.

Instead of learning Spanish I have been reading! The Queen of the South by Arturo Perez-Reverte is the latest book that I have finished. The best way to describe it is
Feb 16, 2009 marked it as started-and-not-finished  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Werner by: An Internet pen pal
Update, May 28, 2016: I gave this one a second try, after a lapse of some seven years, only because a review of it was needed for another site where the movie and telenovela adaptations are going to be reviewed later this year. My first reading had gotten through Chapter 3; I'd quit reading because I didn't like it, but figured that if it got no worse it would be bearable to finish, so fully intended to do so this time. By the time I got into Chapter 7, however, for me the cumulative "Ewww!" ...more
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: no-judgements
I guess I'm glad I read this, if only to satisfy a long-burning curiosity about The Queen of the South that's been in the back of my head ever since my mom hid the book from me at age fifteen so I couldn't read the dirty parts. (for the record, Mom, I probably would have been able to handle it)

That said, it could have been a lot cooler than it is. And considering the book is about a woman who goes on the run after being targeted by Mexican hitmen and eventually becomes the most powerful drug
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Smuggling and double-crossing, were in-se-par-able.

If I can give this book 10 stars, I would gladly do it! One of the best books I'd read in 2011!
Dec 07, 2008 rated it liked it
This book is a book for history-lovers. Anyone who wants the who/how/where/when/why will love the detail and precision with which every event in this book is told. Unless you truly grew up in the culture about which it is written, and know about drug runs and border crossings and vacuum-packing marijuana in bricks to stow away in speedboats, I would wager than Perez-Reverte could convince any reader that he has done his homework. And if you did grow up in that culture, perhaps that would merely ...more
Maya B
This was a good, solid read. It reminded me of the Godfather series that I read years ago and loved. I recommend to any readers that like Mario Puzo. I did have an issue with the way the author changed up the point of view. I would have liked if the whole story was told by Teresa Mendoza (1st person) the entire time I was reading but the author switched it up. He had the reporter (3rd person) talking as well and I had to at times go back to re-read certain parts so I could keep up with who is ...more
There are a lot of reviews available here which outline the plot, so I won't attempt to do so here, other than to say: cocaine smuggling, logistics, deals and double crossings, Moroccan hashish, fast boats, cargo ships, dirty politics, shootouts, Mexican drug cartels, the Colombians, indiscretions and revenge. Teresa Mendoza is our lead character. She starts off as a simple narco's morra, quiet and unassuming. Her boyfriend is murdered, and she is on the run.

It is a high speed read, almost a
Kim Kaso
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating and beautifully written book about so many things. On the surface, it is the tale of the unlikely rise of a young girl through the world of the drug trade, her survival and success. But, as in any book by Pérez-Reverte, it is meticulously researched and crafted, and gives the reader layer upon layer. Teresa Mendoza is a superb character, and the book uses everything from The Count of Monte Cristo to the narco corridos to illustrate both her examined and unexamined life.

Oct 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Drug Runners
Shelves: bookclub, 2007
This story is told in two styles; from an omniscient perspective following the main character, and from the first-person point of view of a journalist researching her story. At first I was quite bored by the latter story. Later on, however, I began to feel like Perez-Reverte was trying to coax me into a state of mind whereby I would begin to use Teresa Mendoza's story as a truer reality. Throughout the book Teresa discovers that through books she can live more fully, and understand her life more ...more
Oct 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
It was very well written and an entertaining read. I thought the characters were complex and real. The plot was good, and it was real, too. The writing was done well. The questions left in my mind were what really detracted from the book.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story of Teresa Mendoza
"she had acquired only three certainties about human beings: that they kill, that they remember, and that they die. Because there comes a moment, she told herself, when you look ahead and see only what you've left behind--dead bodies all along the road you're walking down. Among them, your own, although you don't know it. Until you come upon it, and then you know.

and then the many pages of a final shoot-out written in heartbreaking prose and yet she walks out of that
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Queen of the South by Arturo Perez-Reverte Teresa Mendoza was once attached to a talented drug smuggler in Mexico. That is, until he started skimming off the top and got himself killed. She had to flee to the back end of Spain. But her story doesn’t settle down into a quiet life there. More drugs, organized crime, and heart break ensue.
Set in the 1980s, this is a sweeping story about endurance. Teresa was born into a world where there are few paths out of poverty. When fortune gave her a
Tara Chevrestt
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Tara by: Susan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I've read several of APR's books before and enjoyed them greatly, but for some reason thought this would be his commercial effort. Maybe a little trashy and cliched. Perhaps because of the Mexican novela on TV? In any event I approached this as somewhat of a guilty pleasure, after watching the novela with subtiltles and being totally hooked. I decided to read the book and see how closely the novela stuck to the plot. It did, but threw in some extra characters to add to the melodrama. The US tv ...more
Feb 08, 2010 rated it liked it
I would actually give this book a rating of 3.5. This book was recommended to me by my older sister.
It was really hard for me to get too far in this book and force myself to continue because it was written, though very well detailed, a bit tedious. It's as if the author got a little distracted and continued onto a few paragraphs about something a little off subject. So it was all over the place, as intersting as I found that style, it was difficult to stay on track. It wasn't until the second
Jan 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
Argh, he's trying to write from a woman's perspective with no real concept of what that means. At the point where he says her womb shuddered I threw the book across the room. Does even even know anatomy?
This was quite the ride. A bit slow-moving at the beginning, Perez-Reverte's writing eventually grabs hold of you and takes you on the ride of Teresa Mendoza, drug transport....queenpin? While Teresa is never quite a sympathetic character, you still end up rooting for her as her life is revealed on the pages, told in alternating "journalistic investigation" and narrative style.

The crowning achievements of this book were the descriptions of characters - the author has an AMAZING knack for
Claire Y
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because I watched the Spanish series -- La Reina del Sur. Not much change between the two. Sometimes a bit tedious, but overall, a very good read.
Magali Blanco
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really love the versión of the book story because I’ve watched the novel of this book and it’s amazing how they are both unique in there own ways very different but at the same time the same story.
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-mgr-bom, latinx
A very interesting story that I believe I would have enjoyed more without the journalistic viewpoint. I am now interested in the television show and we'll watch it to compare it to the book. I did enjoy the strong female characters altbeit drug dealers. I also believe some of the story got lost in translation but the audio version did help in that area.
Nov 27, 2011 rated it liked it
I read the Spanish original, but I am writing here for a wider audience. I approached the book with some skepticism; Perez-Reverte was known to me chiefly for his literary mysteries, in which the resolution falls short of the spectacular and artificial beginnings. "The Queen of the South" seems to me to have the reverse problem. The wind-up to Teresa Mendoza's career (aside from the fireworks of the opening, about which more will be said) takes too long; and the part where she actually becomes ...more
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
The story starts from the end. The narrator is a journalist who writes a biography book for Teresa Mendoza, Queen of the south, or La reina del sur, the only woman among the narco-mafia in Southern Europe.

Teresa‘s story starts twelve years ago, in Mexico. She was a girlfriend of local narco diller, Guero Davilla, who was killed. They were after her too. She had to run to save her life.

Her childhood was really bad. Father, unknown. Mother, prostitute. Growing up in a bad neighborhood, raped when
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
In this book, Pérez-Reverte tells us the story of Teresa Mendoza, a mexican woman who becomes an important drug dealer in the south of Spain. Having to run away from her hometown in Mexico, after learning her boyfriend (a drug transporter) has been murdered, Teresa takes refuge in Spain. Only to meet another drug transporter, start a relationship with him and eventually ally herself to him in drug transportation. But things go awry for them and Teresa ends up in jail. There she meets a clever ...more
Jan 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING! I don't usually go for thrillers, but the female lead character is so complicated and so foreign to me that I became fascinated in trying to relate to her. Cold, calculated, cunning, indestructible, she is the female drug cartel Bond. Yet through the narrative we get to hear her vulnerability and her fragmented displacement of her fears and denial of her own desires. The fantastic setting for the story and detailed description make you want to leave your day job and start running hash ...more
DNF @ 70%

I just can't. I'm calling it. I'm so over this book that I have been trying for months to plow through. I only pick it up between finishing a book and finding something else that I actually want to read, and at those times when I do pick this up, I skim so narrowly that I am hardly getting any story at all.

The writing is very good, there's no doubt about that. Perez-Reverte is a good author. However, the writing is so incredibly dense that if you aren't 100% invested in the fate of the
Traci Nicole
Oct 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
DNF @17%
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5/5 stars. I love ruthless, brilliant, and cunning women as main characters and Teresa didn't disappoint.
Jul 15, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
the book is interesting i like the intensity of the story

Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think I would have liked it less if I've never known about the TV show.
But I would have never heard of the book then either.
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Spanish novelist and ex-journalist. He worked as a war reporter for twenty-one years (1973 - 1994). He started his journalistic career writing for the now-defunct newspaper Pueblo. Then, he jumped to news reporter for TVE, Spanish national channel. As a war journalist he traveled to several countries, covering many conflicts. He put this experience into his book 'Territorio Comanche', focusing on ...more
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