Jeanine Kitchel’s new book, Wheels Up: A Novel of Drugs, Cartels and Survival, was released this summer, and reviewers have already given it a well-deserved 4.5 to 5 stars. Its high ratings have led to recognition by The New York Book Review, whose review will be published in the Sept. 27 issue.
Wheels Up: A Novel of Drugs, Cartels and Survival is Jeanine Kitchel’s debut novel. Living in Mexico for 15 years gave her insight into the country’s multi-faceted culture as well as a closer look at the powerful cartels. Wheels Up uses that insight to catapult Layla Navarro, niece of Mexico’s most notorious drug lord, El Patrón, to the top of the cartel after his recapture. This is a story of triumph against all odds and also one of personal transformation as Layla struggles to survive in one of the cruelest institutions the world has ever seen.
Layla always wanted to run the family business. But is she willing to kill for it? When her notorious drug lord uncle is recaptured, Layla Navarro catapults to the top of Mexico’s most powerful cartel. Groomed as his successor, Layla knows where the bodies are buried. But not all the enemies. To prove her mettle, she accepts an offer to move two tons of cocaine from Colombia to Cancun by jet. The deal goes sideways during a stopover in Guatemala when she unexpectedly uncovers a human trafficking ring. Plagued by self-doubt she must navigate the minefield of Mexican machismo, outsmart government officials, and fight off gangsters. Even worse, she realizes she’s now become a target for every rival cartel seeking to undermine her new standing. From her lush base in the tropics, she’s determined to retain her dominant position in Mexico’s criminal world—if she can stay alive.
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