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In the Mouth of the Wolf: A Murder, a Cover-Up, and the True Cost of Silencing the Press (Hardcover)
Shortlisted for the Juan E. Mendez Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America
“Chilling and nuanced … a murder mystery but also, more important, a portrait of a nation where no one knows what to believe, or whom to trust."--Mark Bowden, The New York Times Book Review
"Epic ... deeply reported and riveting."--NPR Online
Former AP Mexico bureau chief Katherine Corcoran’s pulsating investigation into the murder of a legendary woman journalist on the verge of exposing government corruption in Mexico.
Regina Martínez was no stranger to retaliation. A journalist out of Mexico’s Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, Regina's stories for the magazine Proceso laid out the corruption and abuse underlying Mexican politics. She was barred from press conferences, and copies of Proceso often disappeared before they made the newsstands. In 2012, shortly after Proceso published an article on corruption and two Veracruz politicians, and the magazine went missing once again, she was bludgeoned to death in her bathroom. The message was clear: No journalist in Mexico was safe.
Katherine Corcoran, then leading the Associated Press coverage of Mexico, admired Regina Martínez’s work. Troubled by the news of her death, Corcoran journeyed to Veracruz to find out what had happened. Regina hadn’t even written the controversial article. But did she have something else that someone didn’t want published? Once there, Katherine bonded with four of Regina’s grief-stricken mentees, each desperate to prove who was to blame for the death of their friend. Together they battled cover-ups, narco-officials, red tape, and threats to sift through the mess of lies—and discover what got Regina killed.
A gripping look at reporters who dare to step on the deadly “third rail,” where the state and organized crime have become indistinguishable, In the Mouth of the Wolf confronts how silencing the free press threatens basic protections and rule of law across the globe.
About the Author
Katherine Corcoran is a former Associated Press bureau chief for Mexico and Central America. She has been an Alicia Patterson fellow, the Hewlett Fellow for Public Policy at the Kellogg Institute at the University of Notre Dame, and a Logan Nonfiction Program fellow. At the AP, she led an award-winning team that broke major stories about cartel and state violence and abuse of authority in Mexico and Central America. Her columns about Mexican politics and press freedom have appeared in the Washington Post, the Houston Chronicle, and Univision Online, among other publications. She is currently codirector of Cronkite Noticias, the bilingual reporting program at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and of MasterLAB, an investigative editor training program in Mexico City.
"A chilling and nuanced look at press freedom in a country persistently rated among the most dangerous in the world for journalists … a murder mystery but also, more important, a portrait of a nation where no one knows what to believe, or whom to trust. In the Mouth of the Wolf shows the consequences of a press corps ruled by terror and derided by the powerful." - The New York Times Book Review
"A striking tale of the violent risks faced by journalists in Mexico … Katherine Corcoran not only grasps the complexities of our southern neighbor but also has clearly let the country and its people into her soul ... A tour de force of relentless reporting." - The Washington Post
"Epic … A deeply reported and riveting account of Regina Martinez's murder … To some, what Corcoran has uncovered shows how broken Mexican society is. But her reporting also reveals the best of Mexico — the courage and integrity of Mexican journalists, the resilience of citizens determined to find justice where the rule of law is itself hostage, and the love of family and country that unifies the Mexican people." - NPR Online
“A powerful chronicle of the life, work, and murder of Regina Martinez…Corcoran trains a sharp investigative eye on the events leading up to the murder and the desperate cover-up that ensued.” —CrimeReads, Best True Crime Books of 2022
"A gripping true-crime story and love letter to Mexico’s brave journalists that serves as a clarion call for the importance of a free press in a democracy." - San Francisco Chronicle
"Powerful ... Ms. Corcoran’s book notes being a good journalist in Mexico demands sacrifice, sometimes the ultimate one." - The Economist
"[A] chilling true-crime story... Both fascinating and horrifying, In the Mouth of the Wolf exposes decades of corrupt politicians and law enforcement who allow this violence to take place. - Apple, Best Books of October 2022 Pick
"Corcoran has done a masterful job in assembling the complicated story of Martinez’s life, work and murder." - Associated Press
"Deeply reported … a captivating account of intrepid Mexican journalism and a damning indictment of the Mexican state." -Foreign Policy
"Not your ordinary true-crime account. It’s a deep dive into the injustice and danger many Mexican journalists face to this day. Katherine Corcoran explores the mystery of Martínez’s death and the risk many reporters take to keep the press free." - Vanity Fair, Best Books of 2022
"Reads like an amazing piece of crime noir. It is, at once, a fine-grained story of a murder, a coverup, government corruption, narco-politicians, byzantine bureaucracies, failed rule of law, and endemic threat, danger, and the potential for violence. It also serves as a cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy and how those democracies can transform into authoritarian regimes and narco-states." - New York Journal of Books
“A searing look at the unsolved 2012 murder of Regina Martínez … succeeds both as an homage to the heroic Martínez and as a gripping real-life whodunit.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A disturbing look at violence against journalists in Mexico through the lens of the murder of a veteran crime reporter … Readers will be transfixed by this alarming narrative, all the more timely as free speech, even in the U.S., is under attack yet again. A tenaciously researched work of investigative journalism.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Captivating … [a] copiously detailed, compelling true-crime tale.” —Booklist
"Compelling, carefully researched." - Shelf Awareness
"This volume considers the role of journalists and the perils they face in the process of chronicling the connection between corrupt politicians and drug traffickers … Mexican journalists are forced to exercise self-censorship to survive. Regina's story is a painful reminder of this situation. Highly recommended." —Choice
“Corcoran's riveting investigation into the murder of one courageous reporter becomes a forensic examination of corruption in Mexico and the threat to democracy posed by the suppression of the free press. In the Mouth of the Wolf implicates the Mexican political system and demonstrates what we stand to lose wherever voices are silenced.” —Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of THE LOOMING TOWER
“Hair-raising and infuriating. Day after day, reporters in the United States write stories that irk government leaders and have no thought of being marked for death. But in Mexico, hard-digging journalists like [Regina] Martinez are too often threatened and even killed for exposing corruption. Corcoran's book shockingly documents the deadly perils of pursuing the truth in a broken country that needs more brave voices, not fewer.” —Carl Hiaasen, New York Times bestselling author of SQUEEZE ME
“Drawing on her deep experience covering Mexico, Katherine Corcoran recounts, in meticulously researched and lively detail, the life and death of an intrepid, path-breaking Mexican reporter. Vital reading for anyone who cares about the future of press freedom and democracy.” —Julia Preston, co-author, Opening Mexico: The Making of a Democracy and winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on Mexico
“A gripping, can't-put-it-down mystery that is a triumph of deep reporting and a tribute to Mexico's journalists, the unsung heroes of its young democracy.” —Mary Beth Sheridan, Mexico correspondent, The Washington Post
“Reads like an intimate suspense thriller, with lucid, elegant prose and cleared-eye facts. Corcoran, the former AP Bureau Chief in Mexico City, is one dogged, meticulous and passionate reporter on a mission to expose the culprits, no matter how high-ranking. An urgent read, Corcoran spins more than an epic tale, she restores trust in journalism.” —Alfredo Corchado, Mexico Border correspondent, The Dallas Morning News, and author of Homelands
“A true crime book that you can't put down.” —Joel Simon, author of The Infodemic and former executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists
“Weaves Mexican history, politics, and culture throughout her story of the life, work and murder of Regina Martínez, a tenacious journalist, killed after uncovering local corruption. Ultimately unraveling the cover-up of Martínez's murder, Corcoran relates not only the search for justice, but also the struggle to save Mexico's young democracy.” —Carrie Kahn, NPR International Mexico correspondent
“With relentless reporting and deep humanity, Katherine Corcoran lays bare the horrific massacre yet incredible bravery of our Mexican journalist colleagues over the last two decades-and the failure on both sides of the border to deal with the root causes of this tragedy.” —Ioan Grillo, author of El Narco and Blood Gun Money
“Chronicles the story of a brave woman's attempted to expose drug traffickers and corrupt politicians ... Corcoran has the same tenacity as she investigates a remarkable woman's life and death.” —Montecito Journal
"Corcoran’s account is compulsively readable as it follows the twists and turns of her years-long investigation … [She] paints a portrait of Regina Martínez that avoids hagiography while offering a sensitive ode to the fallen reporter." —Public Books