In alternating chapters, Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos and the consistently excellent Paco Ignacio Taibo II create an uproarious murder mystery with two intersecting story lines. The chapters written by the famously masked Marcos originate in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico. There, the fictional Subcomandante Marcos assigns Elias Contreras-an odd but charming mountain man-to travel to Mexico City in search of an elusive and hideous murderer named Morales. The second story line, penned by Taibo, stars his famous series detective Hctor Belascoarn Shayne. Hctor guzzles Coca-Cola and smokes cigarettes furiously amidst his philosophical and always charming approach to investigating crimes-in this case, the search for his own Morales. The two stories collide absurdly and dramatically in the urban sprawl of Mexico City. The ugly history of the city's political violence rears its head, and both detectives find themselves in an unpredictable dance of death with forces at once criminal, historical, and political.
Subcomandante Marcos is a spokesperson and strategist for the Zapatistas, an indigenous insurgency movement based in Mexico. He first joined the indigenous guerrilla group which was to become the Zapatistas in the early 1980s. Marcos is author of several books, including Story of the Colors, which won a Firecracker Alternative Book Award, and Our Word is Our Weapon. Taibo was born in Gijon, Spain and has lived in Mexico since 1958. He is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, which have been published in many languages around the world, including a mystery series starring Mexican Private Investigator Hector Belascoaran Shayne. He is a professor of history at the Metropolitcan Unviersity of Mexico City.