Thursday, August 18, 2011

New and Off Topic---At The Devil's Table During Columbia's Cocaine Wars, 1989-1995

At The Devil's Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel, Willima C. Rempel, Random House, 368 pages, $27.00.

CWL: This book delivers everything the cover flaps states. There are times when the reader wonders how will the informant, his wife and children make it out alive. An honest man with a job that takes a crooked turn. Thug life in Columbia. A war between to narco-families, one family from Medellin and and the other from Cali. When one extended family is hunted down, put in prison or killed another war begins. The Cali Cartel vs. the Columbian government is a shudder-inducing story. With the U.S. help, both families are taken down. The British and Dutch narco-mercenaries get back to Europe and retire. Martin Scorcese should by the film rights to this book.

Cover Flaps: In this riveting and relentless nonfiction thriller, award-winning investigative reporter William C. Rempel tells the harrowing story of former Cali cartel insider Jorge Salcedo, an ordinary man facing an extraordinary dilemma—a man forced to risk everything to escape the powerful and treacherous Cali crime syndicate.

Colombia in the 1990s is a country in chaos, as a weak government battles guerrilla movements and narco-traffickers, including the notorious Pablo Escobar and his rivals in the Cali cartel. Enter Jorge Salcedo, a part-time soldier, a gifted engineer, a respected businessman and family man—and a man who despises Pablo Escobar for patriotic and deeply personal reasons. He is introduced to the godfathers of the Cali cartel, who are at war with Escobar and desperately want their foe dead. With mixed feelings, Jorge agrees to help them.

Once inside, Jorge rises to become head of security for Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela, principal godfather of the $7-billion-a-year Cali drug cartel. Jorge tries to turn a blind eye to the violence, corruption, and brutality that surround him, and he struggles privately to preserve his integrity even as he is drawn deeper into the web of cartel operations. Then comes an order from the godfathers that he can’t obey—but can’t refuse. Jorge realizes that his only way out is to bring down the biggest, richest crime syndicate of all time.

Thus begins a heart-pumping roller-coaster ride of intensifying peril. Secretly aided by a pair of young American DEA agents, Jorge races time and cartel assassins to extract damaging evidence, help capture the fugitive godfather, and save the life of a witness targeted for murder. Through it all, death lurks a single misstep away.

William C. Rempel is the only reporter with access to this story and to Jorge, who remains in hiding somewhere in the United States—even the author doesn’t know where—but has revealed his experience in gripping detail. Salcedo’s is the story of one extraordinary ordinary man forced to risk everything to end a nightmare of his own making.

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