Miguel's Gift by Bruce Kading

Set in Chicago in the late 1980s, this riveting crime novel revolves around Nick Hayden, a rookie INS field agent eager to make his mark in the unit responsible for picking up illegal immigrants around the city.

Hayden excels, whether he’s raiding factories or busting Colombian drug dealers. Seen as a rising star by supervisors, over time, the green, idealistic Hayden evolves into what one veteran agent terms a “gladiator,” an agent willing to do whatever is necessary to get the job done.

But Hayden’s real reason for joining INS—the mysterious death of an agent thirteen years earlier—remains a closely guarded secret, even as he reluctantly begins a discreet inquiry to uncover the truth.

Hayden’s world changes dramatically when he recruits a humble Mexican illegal immigrant, Miguel Chavez, as an informant to help take down Salvador Rico, the ruthless kingpin of Chicago’s counterfeit document trade.

As the story builds to a deadly climax, the unexpected friendship between Miguel and Nick transforms Hayden, helping him to reclaim a part of himself that had disintegrated amid the rough-and-tumble pursuit of his mission.

Based on the author’s twenty-two years as a special agent with INS, Miguel’s Gift examines the conflict between illegal immigrants and the government struggling to regulate them, a conflict fraught with danger, secrecy, and the hope for a better life.

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