THE SOUTHLAND tells the story of three unauthorized Mexican immigrants living in Los Angeles: Luz works multiple jobs to provide for herself and her teenage son Eliseo. Nadia, a former journalist with PTSD, fled Mexico and tries to stay hidden from the dangerous men that she exposed in Sinaloa. Ostelinda works as a laborer in a garment factory, having been deceived by coyotes and imprisoned in the same building since her arrival. Their lives intersect through terrifying circumstance that clarify and contrast the horrors of existence.
When Eliseo goes missing, Luz is lost. She doesn’t trust the authorities to help. One wrong move could get her deported. Luz has no option but to investigate her son’s disappearance on her own. Engaging Nadia and her roommate, they navigate an increasingly hostile American environment in an effort to reunite Luz’s small family. When Luz and Nadia uncover a link to the people that run the garment factory, the two women become determined to save more than just Luz’s son.
THE SOUTHLAND is a crime story, but more than that, it’s a story of America and the dangers that migrants face when being forced to live in the shadows.
This engrossing crime novel from Shaw (the Jimmy Veeder series) focuses on the tribulations of three undocumented Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles. Ostelinda was brought to the States under false pretenses by a corrupt family who keep her locked in their garment factory along with other women, forcing her to work long hours. Nadia, a journalist, sought refuge in the U.S. under an alias after her husband and son were gunned down in front of her by government officials with ties to the cartel she had exposed. Luz Delgado came in search of a better life for her and the family she left behind. After working seven years in two jobs with little pay, she sends to Mexico for her 17-year-old son, Eliseo, who she discovers after their reunion has become an angry, uncaring person. When Eliseo disappears, Luz sets out to find him, and crosses paths with Ostelinda and Nadia. Shaw movingly reveals how each woman, under unbearable circumstances, survives in a land that doesn't want her. Those who like their crime fiction with a social conscience will welcome this timely novel.