It’s 6:45AM on Sunday, 12 July, and while I was waiting on a radio station to call for a 7AM interview (not my idea!), I decided to browse through some unread email, and found this from a Salvadorian service member:
“I was really moved when i read your latest book “This is for the Mara Salvatrucha: Inside the MS-13, America’s Most Violent Gang.” I am currently in the military and deployed. I learned about your book when i decided to google “MS-13 book.” I wanted to see if there was any books on this group. Then i found yours and ordered it online. The same day i recieved the book in the mail, i managed to finish it. I couldn’t stop myself from reading it. You wrote a outstanding book or a “Chingón” book. I myself am a Salvadorian and understand the hardship that Brenda Paz had to live through. I am Happy that someone like you came around and had the “cajones” to write about the MS-13.”
Of course it’s nice to receive positive feedback, but even more so when those comments come from someone who has likely seen the MS-13 up close for many years. I tried very heard to tell a complex story, and make it a readable narrative, but it was even more important to me to accurately portray a gang that so many know so little about, except people like Sr. Hurtado, from El Salvador, who wrote the above comment.