Sunday, 19 October 2014

Meet The Gang - El Loco Serpientes

As fans of Reading The Dead already know, the third book of the series finds the Violent Crimes Unit team in the middle of an escalating gang war. Since the brutal truth of Los Angeles' street gangs are disturbing enough in their own right, I've made every effort to fictionalize the details of the most infamous groups, while hopefully remaining true to their essence. In this, the first of a number of such previews, I will be introducing readers to the often violent world of the gangs that vie for control of the city streets within the pages of Reading The Dead: Street Savior.

In the book, East Los Angeles is home to Posse Loco, one of the largest Hispanic street gangs on the west coast. Their numbers include Mexicans and Central and South American immigrants. Funded by drug cartels in Mexico and Columbia, the gang is involved in a range of street crime, including gun trafficking, narcotics, extortion, robbery, and homicide.

Five years before, an undercover operation managed to stop a significant threat to public safety. Vera Mendez, the twisted, sadistic, power-hungry leader of a Posse Loco splinter group called El Loco Serpientes, almost succeeded in engineering a war against their South Los Angeles rivals, the Rollin' 99ers. In the end, her own gang rebelled against her, turning her into a wanted woman by the LAPD and both gangs involved in the tension. 

In a major police bust, Mendez was arrested on numerous charges, including consecutive life sentences for murder. Many of the men who followed her orders, including her lieutenant and lover, Delmar Perez Rivera (aka. Caballo) were quickly released. The police let most of these small fish go. They caught the only one who mattered.

Without Mendez in charge, El Loco Serpientes quickly disbanded. Its members were absorbed into Posse Loco. Though war was averted, the fuse she lit continued to burn between the gangs during her exile behind bars. Hostility between the Locos and the 99ers grew. Caballo, whose loyalty once stood in doubt among the leaders of Posse Loco, proved his worth time and again in his service for the Locos. During the incarceration of his former girlfriend, he clawed his way up the hierarchy of the organization to become the second-highest ranking member of the gang. Though he earned the trust of his gang brothers, the cartel bosses continued to harbor doubts about his loyalty. It was never clear whether his heart was with the Locos, or the woman who once shared his bed.

It would take five years before an escape opportunity presented itself to Vera Mendez. Though nothing remained of the gang she once ran, her dreams of power and control persisted. Her return to Delmar's side would spark the powder keg on the already volatile situation heating up the streets. In their final, bloody battle for retribution, nobody was apt to escape unscathed, not even Sarah Milton and her friends.

Meet Vera Mendez and Delmar Rivera, the powers behind El Loco Serpientes. For more on their story and other exciting previews, keep checking back as Reading The Dead: Street Savior nears completion for 2016.