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The Queen of the South by Arturo Perez-Reverte
The Queen of the South refers to Teresa Mendoza, who began as a beautiful bangle on a Mexican drug runner's arm. When he is killed by his bosses, who then come looking for her, Teresa flees to Spain. There she falls for another drug runner, but instead of being his trophy, she insists on becoming his partner. She becomes an expert at piloting boats that can't be caught. Even a stint in prison helps her cement friends and partnerships, so that when she's released, she sets out to reach the top on her own. She becomes the ruthless leader of a drug smuggling empire, where her money and connections leave her untouched, earning her the moniker of Queen of the South. Arturo Perez-Reverte's novel has received mostly positive reviews with BookPage saying, "The Queen of the South is audacious, and its heroine uncommon, but it is Perez-Reverte's pace, unhurried and unforced, and his superb attention to detail, that makes the Spanish novelist's sixth book so mesmerizing."