“Zero zero zero” flour is the finest, whitest available. It is also the nickname among narcotraffickers for the purest cocaine on the market. And it is the title of Roberto Saviano’s unforgettable exploration of the inner workings of the global cocaine trade—its rules and armies, and the true depth of its reach into the world economy.
Saviano’s Gomorrah, his explosive account of the Neapolitan mob, the Camorra, was a worldwide sensation. It struck such a nerve with the Camorra that Saviano has lived with twenty-four-hour police protection for more than eight years. During this time he has come to know law enforcement agencies and officials around the world. With their cooperation, Savaiano has broadened his perspective to take in the entire global “corporate” entity that is the drug trade and the complex money-laundering operations that allow it to function, often with the help of the world’s biggest banks. The result is a harrowing and groundbreaking synthesis of literary narrative and geopolitical analysis exploring one of the most powerful dark forces in our economy. Saviano tracks the shift in the cocaine trade’s axis of power, from Colombia to Mexico, and relates how the Latin American cartels and gangs have forged alliances with crime syndicates across the globe. He charts the increasing sophistication of these criminal entities as they diversify into other products and markets. He also reveals the astonishing increase in the severity of violence as they have fought to protect and extend their power.
Saviano is a writer and journalist of rare courage and a thinker of impressive intellectual depth, able to see connections between far-flung phenomena and bind them into a single epic story. Most drug-war narratives feel safely removed from our own lives; Saviano offers no such comfort. Both heart-racing and eye-opening, ZeroZeroZero is an investigative story like none other.