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El Ray has no redeeming human qualities and is a product of Mexican drug brutality - despite this he's a fascinating character. This prequel shows how he acquired his almost super-human skills and decided to become the highest paid contract assassin in the world.
Russell Blake knows his locations well as he lives in Mexico and has more than a passing acquaintance with Australia and Sydney (my old home city where he passes about 80% of my reality test - "no worries") which is the location of one of El Rey's early highly-paid brutal contracts.
Australia Day is soon and I would normally go around humming "Waltzing Matilda". After reading this prequel this would give me a chilling feeling - you have to read this book to understand why. If the rest of the books in the series are as good as the prequel they will be well worth reading.