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Kilo: Inside the Deadliest Cocaine Cartels—from the Jungles to the Streets (Hardcover)
With unprecedented access to Colombia’s cocaine cartels, a journalist offers a thrilling account of the journey of one kilo of cocaine, from the farmers who produce it to the killers who protect it, to the drug barons and their lovers made fabulously wealthy by it.
Cocaine is glamour, sex and murder. From the badlands of Colombia, it stretches across the globe, seducing, corrupting and destroying. A product that must be produced, distributed, and protected, it is both a harbinger of violence and a source of immense wealth. Beginning in the jungles and mountains of Colombia, it filters down to countryside villages and the nightclubs of the cities, attracting money, sex, and death. Each step in the life of a kilo reveals a different criminal underworld with its own players, rules, and dangers, ranging from the bizarre to the diabolical. The killers, the drug-lords, all find themselves seduced by cocaine and trapped in her world.
Seasoned war correspondent Toby Muse has witnessed each level of this underworld, fueled by the appetite for cocaine in America and Europe. In this riveting chronicle, he takes the reader inside Colombia’s notorious drug cartels to offer a never before look at the drug trade. Following a kilo of cocaine from its production in a clandestine laboratory to the smugglers who ship it abroad, he reveals the human lives behind the drug’s complicated legacy. Reporting on Colombia for the world’s most prestigious networks and publications, Muse gained unprecedented access to the extraordinary people who survive on the drug trade—farmers, smugglers, assassins—and the drug lords and their lovers controlling these multi-billion dollar enterprises. Uncovering stories of violence, sex, and money, he shows the allure and the madness of cocaine. And how the War on Drugs has been no match for cocaine.
Piercing this veiled world, Kilo is a gripping portrait of a country struggling to end this deadly trade even as the riches flow. A human portrait of criminals and the shocking details of their lives, Kilo is a chilling, unforgettable story that takes you deep into the belly of the beast.
Kilo includes 8 pages of photographs.
About the Author
Toby Muse is a British-American writer, television reporter, documentary filmmaker and foreign correspondent. He has reported from the front lines of the conflicts in Colombia, Iraq and Syria. He has embedded with soldiers, rebels and drug cartels, producing exclusive reports from cocaine laboratories and guerrilla jungle camps. He lived in Bogota, Colombia for more than fifteen years, reporting across South America and the endless drug war.
“Like other daring foreign correspondents, Sebastian Junger and Chris Hedges among them, Muse has a talent for recognizing the intrinsic humanity in all his subjects, no matter how monstrously they may behave. . . . An unrelentingly tragic yet indispensable exposé of the never-ending war on drugs.”
— Kirkus Reviews
"Kilo is surely the best account of the cocaine trade that will be ever be written, as well as the most incredible work of investigative journalism I’ve read. It’s a high-stakes yarn that shows each step of the drug ladder in vivid detail—from creation to consumption. A superb and important book."
— Ben Westhoff, author of Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic
"In this riveting first-hand account that reads like a documentary, Toby Muse goes beyond stereotypical crutches and achieves an honest and nuanced portrait of Colombia’s cancerous cocaine industry, revealing not just the stakes but the human toll behind every line of cocaine. Kilo will prove enlightening even to those who lived firsthand the horrors of the country’s civil war."
— Juanita Ceballos, Vice News
"A hair-raising, stream-of-consciousness ride via the glamor and glory of silicone busts, gold-plated guns, and fast cars to the inevitable wreckage that is cocaine."
— Karl Penhaul, former CNN correspondent for Colombia
"In fifteen years covering Colombia, this is the best book I’ve ever read about the cocaine trade. If you want to understand why the drugs are produced here, then how they get to the U.S., there’s no better guide."
— Matthew Bristow, former Colombia bureau chief, Bloomberg News
"From Venezuelan coca pickers in Colombia’s badlands to Ecuadorian sailors plying the Pacific with tons of cocaine, Kilo explores the trenches of the drug trade like few other books. Muse has produced a must-read for those trying to understand Latin America, Washington foreign policy and why decades of bloodshed and billions of dollars haven’t won the war on drugs."
— Jim Wyss, Miami Herald reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner
"Toby Muse’s firsthand dive into the depths of Colombia’s coca-filled jungles is as tragic and absurd as the decades-old drug war itself."
— Joshua Goodman, Latin America correspondent for the Associated Press