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Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw

by Mark Bowden

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

304, January

Hardcover, 25

ISBN: 0871137836

On July 22, 1992, drug lord Pablo Escobar walked out of the luxurious prison he built for himself and disappeared into the Colombian jungle. His audacious escape destroyed the nation’s tenuous ceasefire with its infamous narcos, and pushed it into open war with the Medellin drug cartel.

Over the coming days and weeks, the United States would launch a joint military and intelligence operation with the Colombian government, assembling a team of expert personnel and an arsenal of state-of-the-art weaponry and surveillance technology the likes of which the world had never seen. Their mission: to track down Pablo.

But this time, nobody was interested in capturing him. This time, they intended to finish the job. This time, they were going to kill him.

Killing Pablo is the inside story of the brutal rise and violent fall of Colombian cocaine cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar, whose criminal empire held a nation of thirty million hostage—a reign of terror that would end only with his death. In an intense, up-close account, best-selling author and award-winning journalist Mark Bowden exposes the never-before-revealed details of how U.S. operatives covertly led the sixteen-month manhunt.

Drawing on unprecedented access to the soldiers, field agents, and officials involved in the chase, as well as hundreds of pages of top-secret documents and transcripts of Escobar’s intercepted phone conversations, Bowden creates a gripping narrative that reads as if it were torn from the pages of a military technothriller. At every phase, he brings to life the men who brought the drug lord down. There is the Colombian president, Cesar Gaviria, afraid for his life and the future of his nation, who is forced to do the unthinkable: allow a foreign military to operate within his country’s borders. There is the U.S. ambassador, Morris D. Busby, who brings in the most sophisticated surveillance team in the world, code-named Centra Spike, and the best team of manhunters, the mysterious Delta Force. And there is the leader of the Colombian forces, Colonel Hugo Martinez, an incorruptible man who lives under constant threat during the drug lord’s reign—and whose own son plays a critical role on the fateful day when Pablo is finally found.

Bowden’s last book, the New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down, was hailed by critics (David Halberstam called it “a brilliant book, a heartbreaking story wonderfully well told—it’s everything I admire”) and became a finalist for the National Book Award.



  1. The Rise of El Doctor
  2. The First War
  3. Imprisonment and Escape
  4. Los Pepes
  5. The Kill
  6. Aftermath

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