Philip Caputo’s latest heads deeper into Mexico, drug wars

Two Americans trying to do good in a Mexican village are at the center of “Some Rise by Sin,” Philip Caputo’s 16th book, and he’s a writer who knows how to set a scene and build tension. He’ll be at Town Hall Seattle on Friday, May 26.

“Some Rise by Sin”

by Philip Caputo

Henry Holt, $28, 335 pages

Philip Caputo is a writer whose long life of adventure has taken him to Vietnam (“A Rumor of War”), Sudan (“Acts of Faith”), Cuba (“The Voyage”) and across the U.S. in a trailer (“The Longest Road”). He has been in combat as a Marine Corps officer, wounded in Beirut as a journalist, and been up close with man-eating lions. Spin a globe and stop it with your finger — Caputo’s probably been there and written about it.

Caputo and his wife live part of the year in Patagonia, Arizona, in the mountains near the Mexico border. The rugged beauty of the borderlands, the harsh space between dawn and the dream, pulled at Caputo the way it has at Luis Alberto Urrea and Cormac McCarthy as well as Jim Harrison, who was Caputo’s close friend and neighbor.

“Crossers,” Caputo’s 2009 novel, straddled the border. His new novel, “Some Rise by Sin,” pushes deeper into Mexico and the drug wars that have stained its soul. There were 20,792 murders in Mexico last year, 35 percent more than in 2014. Blood washes through every layer of Mexican society and into the rocky soil of the Sierra Madre mountains, where “Some Rise by Sin” is set. Cartels control the economy in a devil’s bargain with the army, the police and the government.

Author appearance

Philip Caputo

The author will read from “Some Rise by Sin” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 26, at Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $5 (206-652-4255 or

The moral cost of Mexico weighs heavily on two Americans at the center of “Some Rise by Sin.” Timothy…

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