Bandit Roads, By Richard Grant

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The Independent Culture

Many of us may agree with Richard Grant in his lack of interest in "sports, celebrities, electronic gadgets, the chatter of the culture", but few would go for his chosen alternative of a spell in Mexico's drug-infested Sierra Madre range, described by one visitor as "a fucking Wild West... right on America's back doorstep".

This view of the narcotraficante heartland (a business worth an estimated $50 billion per year) turns out to be an understatement if anything. Despite hearing of a transvestite bandit and a gay narco the reality is far from glamorous. When Grant falls foul of two "mean, drunken hillbillies", who talk about killing him just "to exercise the trigger finger", his fear radiates from the page.