13 January 2014 by Published in: Uncategorized 19 comments

A friend sent me a link today that highlights one of the recurring themes in my Assassin series, set in Mexico against a brutal backdrop of cartel violence: that the largest and most influential cartel in Mexico was receiving U.S. government support – a cartel responsible for butchering tens of thousands of people in Mexico alone. The article is a must read. It can be found here.

Business Insider reveals that an investigation by El Universal has established that the U.S. Government was supporting the largest cartel in Mexico, enabling it to traffic narcotics into the U.S. and receive weapons via the “Fast and Furious” program the DEA had in place. Weapons that were then used against other cartel members, innocent bystanders, and Mexican police.


NEWS: Amazon is featuring me on their Facebook page! Please check it out and like the page. Gracias!

UPDATE: I’ve received quite a few emails recently asking about my process. This blog from last year sums it up, for those who are interested.


If that sounds like something out of a fiction novel, it’s because it is. It is exactly the scenario I lay out in loving detail in King of Swords and its sequels, where the American government is in league with the cartels, providing weapons and money laundering while protecting their shipments into the U.S.

I could not make this up. Or rather, I did. Or thought I did. Although I suspected there was much truth to my speculations.

I’ve long believed that the only way the most wanted man in the world could roam around Mexico without being arrested was to have come to an arrangement with the Mexican government. I’ve also long believed that the cartels couldn’t function at the scale they do without the active support of the U.S. government – and it was probably just happenstance that I named the Sinaloa cartel as the one that was getting the support. I put those “fictional” accounts into my Assassin series, as well as in The Delphi Chronicle, where I lay out in some detail the “fictional” history of CIA involvement in cocaine trafficking from Honduras to Arkansas while everyone’s favorite former aw shucks President was governor.

Remember that these novels were written over two years ago.

I told a journalist recently, who asked where I came up with all my conspiracy plots, that my challenge wasn’t to come up with story ideas. It was to tame down reality so that readers would find the stories plausible. I said that in a joking tone. But I wasn’t really joking. Most folks suffer from normalization bias, wherein they ignore anything troubling about their situation, in favor of pretending that everything’s normal – fine and good. My novels upset many for that reason. Nobody wants reality intruding into their comfortable artificial construct bolstered by a compliant media that’s little more than a PR arm for the government these days.

When I heard about Fast and Furious (google it for the official spin), I instantly knew in my gut what was happening. So I incorporated it into my stories. Because my scenario was the only one that made sense to me, given what I know about the cartels, which is a lot.

Go read the Business Insider article. And then, if you haven’t read King of Swords and its sequels, do so. It’s frigging frightening how exact I got it. As in, literally, nailed it note for note.

As long as there is evil in the world trying to pretend that it doesn’t exist, I’ll have more than ample fodder for my novels. I expect to have a long career. More’s the pity.

Needless to say, I haven’t given up drinking yet.

Oh well. Probably all just a fluke. Move along. Nothing to see here.



  1. Mon 13th Jan 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I’m a bit surprised by your surprise in that government agents work secretly (if there is such a thing anymore) with nefarious forces on behalf of the good, as perceived by the government, of its people. Nothing but vice cops on a grander scale, no?

    • Russell Blake  –  Mon 13th Jan 2014 at 8:08 pm

      If you view allowing tons of heroin, meth, and cocaine into the U.S. while providing guns that are used against Mexican and American police, innocent people, and other cartels, as “good,” then I suppose enabling the largest supplier of drugs in the world free access through the border is “good” for the population. Who knew that coke, meth, and heroin were good? I mean, other than those making money from their sale?

      I learn something new every day.

      Truthfully, nothing surprises me anymore. But it is kind of fun that I got this 100% accurately. I mean, what are the odds?

      • Kurt Brindley  –  Mon 13th Jan 2014 at 8:23 pm

        Yes, apologies for not congratulating you on nailing it. Seriously. And even bigger congrats on your recent announcement of your collaboration with none other than Mr CC, himself. Huge.

        As for the article. It certainly looks horrendous as written. But, as a small-scale vice cop probably can attest to, you have to make one or two crooked deals in order to bring down the bigger haul.

        I’m sure there is a government side to this story. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but probably at the genesis of this mess, some bureaucratic pinhead probably was able to sway the higher level bureaucratic pinheads that it would be for the greater good of our country if we work with one cartel, arming it and allowing its drugs through our borders, if that cartel works with us to stop the flow of drugs through our borders from the other cartels. I’m sure it all looked good in the powerpoint. However, it does not look quite so good in a breaking news story.

        Good intentions by the govies though, I’m sure.

        • Russell Blake  –  Mon 13th Jan 2014 at 8:35 pm

          Of course it’s good intentions. It always is. I mean, Sinaloa is the largest drug trafficking network in the world, so I’m not sure what bigger haul they might have been thinking of. It would be like doing a deal with the Italian mob to catch all their much smaller competitors…oh, wait…that’s kind of what this is. Well, it’s not like they were giving them guns to kill tens of thousands of innocents…oh, wait, that’s what they did. And I’m quite sure that there’s no way my speculation that the CIA or other covert entities could have engineered that cooperation in return for under-the-table cuts of the profits. Because that would be so Iran-Contra. And we don’t do that sort of thing. Any more. Right?

          Thanks for the well wishes on the CC deal. I’m chuffed no end by it.

  2. Mon 13th Jan 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Dude, you live in Mexico, so I’d be careful about writing that shit!. I’d offer you a hiding place in my barn in Tennessee, but be sure to wear a disguise and shake any tails before you show up.

    • Russell Blake  –  Mon 13th Jan 2014 at 9:02 pm

      Actually, with the Patriot act, I’d say I’d have more to worry about in the U.S. than in Mexico from speculating that the U.S. Government was up to no good.

      • R.E. McDermott  –  Mon 13th Jan 2014 at 9:28 pm

        Don’t worry, we can stuff you back up in a holler where the boys still cook their shine. Ain’t no feds up there. Course you might have to learn to squeal like a pig, but then life’s all about decisions. 🙂

        • Russell Blake  –  Tue 14th Jan 2014 at 6:31 pm

          Another generous offer. My lucky day…

  3. Mon 13th Jan 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Oh my God! This is King of Swords to a T. Everything matches. Of course Chicago is involved. Not surprised.
    I saw a news story recently that reminded me of the assassin series. Mexican gang members dressed up as cops stormed a prison to get some of their guys out. Can’t remember if that was in Blood of the Assassin or another one, but it made me think of the books.
    All of a sudden I liked it better when you were known by your pen name. Stay safe RB.

    • Russell Blake  –  Mon 13th Jan 2014 at 9:03 pm

      Me too.

  4. Mon 13th Jan 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Yes, I would watch my ass if I were you. (literally if you like, haha) you can hide at my place… stone’s throw away.
    Only if you cook, of course.
    I even have hi-speed internet connection!!

    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 14th Jan 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Always a generous offer. My cooking, unfortunately, leaves much to be desired.

  5. Tue 14th Jan 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Great articles, especially yours.

    And I’m needing a break from Game of Thrones, so I just bought your book. Looking forward to it, and congrats again on your success!

    Before long, you won’t even be answering comments or emails!!! : )

    (And no one will blame you when you do. You’ve been incredibly generous sharing all manner of writing tips, strategy thoughts, and hiccups to avoid. This success literally couldn’t happen to a more deserving person.)

    Sincerely yours,

    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 14th Jan 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks, Stan. I can’t wait for the day when I have my people answering comments. Or just when I have people. Or even just one.

  6. Carrie Parks
    Tue 14th Jan 2014 at 6:11 pm

    A good book to consult regarding the rise of the cartels and the involvement of the government is “Narcoland” by Anabel Hernandez. It’s 2010, but still has good info. A little dry to read, but it provides some great viable conversations and insight.

    Haven’t read your books yet, but I’m going to try to locate some. Just read the WSJ article… you have a great voice. I’m a librarian and read about 3/4 books a week. I totally love that you type while you walk at the treadmill… I walk and read every day.


    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 14th Jan 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks for the tip. I’ll add it to my obscenely large TBR list.

      I actually know all the wrong people, so have some insights of my own into how the cartels work.

      How well I write while on the treadmill is up for debate. But I hope you enjoy whichever you get your hands on. Might want to check out the Look Inside for King of Swords or JET for a taste of my voice in action.

      Now back to the treadmill…

      • Carrie Parks  –  Wed 15th Jan 2014 at 11:58 am

        I look forward to your stories about them. There’s a lot to work with… the growth of the illegal drug trade could be the subject of endless stories. Where I am I get a look from the teenage perspective.

        I’m looking forward to acquiring your books soon but I’m miffed my local library doesn’t have any! I’ll be making a request for them Friday. My deeper concern is that once I read one, I’ll want to read all of them. The cover of “Black” already made me laugh.

        My current employment is at a high school library and we may only purchase books from Follett or arrange for donations. The Cussler book they will probably carry, however, so I’ll be requesting that title.

        Also a huge kudos that you’re teaming up with Mr. Clive. He’s a kind man. He and my father grew up in the same time period and there’s a possibility they even met or raced cars in Santa Ana.

        I am jealous of your treadmill skills. I need to step up my game and read and run at the same time, not just walk.

        If you need any volunteers for copyediting let me know. It’s something I love to do for fun.

        I read you’re going to attempt romance soon, so I’m curious if you have plans for a young adult work as well? Young Adult is the new Self-Help. And then there’s always GNs too.

        • Russell Blake  –  Wed 15th Jan 2014 at 12:01 pm

          I plan to do a NA novel with a friend of mine who’s big in that genre, time permitting. No plans for YA.

          Clive is a very sweet and knowledgeable man. A very generous soul.

          • Carrie Parks  –  Wed 15th Jan 2014 at 12:57 pm

            That’s awesome! He is! Enjoy working with him. I’m sure it’ll be an experience.

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