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Publisher's Summary

"Meticulously researched and tightly woven, The Devil's Harvest is an important story because it tells us that if [this] can happen in one place, then it can happen in any place. And that's damn scary." (Michael Connelly, New York Times best-selling author of The Closers, The Lincoln Lawyer, and The Night Fire)

A pause-resisting, suspenseful story of a drug cartel hit man who got away with murder after murder in California's Central Valley for three decades, The Devil's Harvest reveals how the criminal justice system fails our most vulnerable immigrant communities.

On the surface, 58-year-old Jose Martinez didn't seem evil or even that remarkable - just a regular neighbor, good with cars and devoted to his family. But in between taking his children to Disneyland and visiting his mom, Martinez was also one of the most skilled professional killers police had ever seen.

He tracked one victim to one of the wealthiest corners of America, a horse ranch in Santa Barbara, and shot him dead in the morning sunlight, setting off a decades-long manhunt. He shot another man, a farmworker, right in front of his young wife as they drove to work in the fields. The widow would wait decades for justice. Those were murders for hire. Others he killed for vengeance.

How did Martinez manage to evade law enforcement for so long with little more than a slap on the wrist? Because he 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, The Devil's Harvest follows award-winning reporter Jessica Garrison's relentless search for the truth as she traces the life of this assassin, the cops who were always a few steps behind him, and the families of his many victims. Drawing upon decades of case files, interrogation transcripts, on-the-ground reporting, and Martinez's chilling 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?

©2020 Jessica Garrison (P)2020 Hachette Books

Critic Reviews

"The most enduring crime narratives zoom out past individual stories of senseless murder to larger issues of societal breakdown, cruel injustice, and ripple effects upon countless lives forever fractured. The Devil's Harvest brilliantly depicts not only the crimes of one decades-undetected hitman, but the lives of those he murdered--often poor, undocumented immigrants, overlooked and given little thought. Jessica Garrison demonstrates, with urgency and compassion, how necessary it is that we not look away and how much these lives count above all." (Sarah Weinman ("The Crime Lady"), author of The Real Lolita and editor of Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit & Obsession)

"[A] propulsive and incisive look at a hired killer who targeted those on the margins - often poor, undocumented immigrants living in the Central Valley - told with necessary compassion." (The Crime Lady blog)

"A killer who hides in plain sight, a justice system that fails its most vulnerable - with her deep dive into the life and many deaths of Jose Martinez, Jessica Garrison has tapped into a story that is as haunting as it is captivating. Meticulously researched and tightly woven, The Devil's Harvest is an important story because it tells us that if it can happen in one place, then it can happen in any place. And that's damn scary." (Michael Connelly, New York Times best-selling author of The Closers, The Lincoln Lawyer, and The Night Fire)

What listeners say about The Devil's Harvest

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Author is an idiot

1st off, you idiot liberal authors should run your gun talk by someone who’s shot a gun before you say “He brought a 30 round clip with his M1 Garland”. That’s like saying “I put gas in my Tesla”. And WTF does Trump have to do with a shitbag mojado who killed people? We get it, the author has Trump Derangement Syndrome and cant write a book with telling what a bad man he is. This author bashes Trump for his immigration policies but champions Cesar Chavez, who used to send gangs of legal workers to beat the crap out of illegals at the border so they wouldn’t take jobs. C Chavez hated illegals more than anything, but you all think because he was a Mexican “civil rights” personality he has to think like a telamundo reporter. This author has lost all credibility. Sad, because I’ve lived in Yuma for 50 years and know people who ran around with this guy. Purro Pinche Trump!!!!!

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Astonishing

This has been such an interesting case to follow since the first time I heard it. The book does a mostly wonderful job of not only telling the story of Jose Martinez, but also painting a picture of the social/environmental factors of this world. It may not necessarily be the author’s fault but there were a few times I got confused on some of the series of events. It’s an extremely complex story. I highly recommend this audiobook.

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Couldn’t get past the narration.

The narrator reads the story without emotion or inflection. Couldn’t stand more than 15 minutes of it. How to return.

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Really great book! Detailed and important part of Central Valley history...

Thank you for writing this book and bringing attention to this. I grew up in Visalia in the 80’s and had no idea that this was how people were living so close to me. It breaks my heart that the lives were not important to law enforcement. I would like to create a scholarship for a high school student in Earlimart to go to college like Melissa Morales did and name it the Melissa Morales Scholarship. Please let me know how I can make this happen. This is an important highlight on life and history - THANK YOU Jessica Garrison for caring and for writing this... I am sharing with many of my friends in Visalia that have no idea re: everything you shared in this book...

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Important History

Very important history about Jose Martinez, as well as difficulties of life for immigrants in California.