This Love is Not for Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juárez. By Robert Andrew Powell. Bloomsbury USA; 272 pages; $25. Buy from Amazon.com
CIUDAD JUÁREZ, an important stop on the cocaine trail to America, has long topped the list of Mexico's most violent cities. By contrast its irredeemably hopeless football team, the Indios, is more used to life at the bottom of the rankings. Following 27 consecutive games without a win, it recently became the worst team in the history of Mexico's primera división.
Robert Andrew Powell, an American journalist, arrived in Juárez at the end of 2009 as the drug war was heating up and the Indios were fighting to stay in theprimera league. After taking care each night to bolt the four locks on the door of his pastel-coloured flat (“like military housing for an army of Teletubbies”), he decided to highlight Indios wins on his calendar and to mark murders on a wall-map in red felt-tip. After a month he gave up, no wins to report and the map already soaked crimson.