In the tradition of authors Jill Leovy and Beth Macy, award-winning Buzzfeed investigative journalist Jessica Garrison unravels the real-life story of Jose Martinez, a serial killer and drug cartel debt collector responsible for the murders of Latinos in the impoverished towns of California’s Central Valley, and sheds light on the lack of protection for the poor
Nestled between the foggy allure of San Francisco and the glitzy celebrity of Los Angeles lies California’s Central Valley -a vast plain of endless dusty fields and home of much of the nation’s fruits and vegetables. In this forgotten corner of America, lives Jose Martinez, a mechanic, devoted father, and one of the most prolific serial killers in American history, having confessed to 39 murders-more than Ted Bundy, John Wayne, or H.H. Homes. He worked as a drug cartel hitman and terrorized poor, rural communities, largely populated by immigrants, for over 35 years until he voluntarily turned himself in. Nobody had ever managed to stop him. Martinez understood a dark truth about the criminal justice system: if you kill the right people-people who are poor, who aren’t white, and who don’t have anyone to speak up for them-you can get away with it. Melding the pacing and suspense of a true crime thriller with the rigor of top-notch investigative journalism, award-winning reporter Jessica Garrison has spent more than three years tracing the life of this merciless hitman, the cops who chased him, and the families of his many victims. Drawing upon decades of case files, interrogation transcripts, months of on the ground reporting, and Martinez’s own handwritten journals, THE DEVIL’S HARVEST uses a gripping and often shocking narrative to dig into one of the most important moral questions haunting our politically divided nation today: why do some deaths-and some lives-matter more than others?