Diablo Nights: An Emilia Cruz Novel

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Category: Self-published
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Date Published: October 4, 2014
Number of Pages: 310
Print Price: $11.69
eBook Price: $3.99

Emilia Cruz, Acapulco’s first and only female police detective, has struggled her way up the ranks for respect in a rough-and-tumble man’s world and a city known for glamor but full of grit. Smart, tough and sensitive to suffering, Emilia knows the dark side of this exotic tourist town well. In search of a wedding gift, she finds a preserved finger in a prestigious Catholic gift shop presumed to be a relic of a Mexican martyr. Then she is pulled into a cruise ship murder where the victim, hidden in a meat locker, is found to possess Ora Ciega, a rare type of Columbian heroin. Later, the mother of a girl she’s been searching for (among so many missing women cases in Mexico) is found dead, and she knows she’s being followed, perhaps by cartel assassins. Meanwhile, a rookie cop from a privileged family with a college degree in music is assigned to her for training and he shows signs of puppy love for her, interfering with her intertwining investigations. Amid the city’s chaos, squad room mistrust, and department corruption, Emilia puts the disparate pieces together after a shocking discovery along the Costa Chica coast, a place governed by vigilante groups who may be in cahoots with the highest officials in Mexico’s government and police apparatus.

A thrilling page-turner, Diablo Nights has plenty of action and excitement, but it never overshadows the complicated and colorful characters that make the story truly captivating. Emilia is a complex and conflicted woman worthy of our emotional investment; she is richly layered and easy to root for. She knows how to handle herself in the face of danger, disrespect or discrimination. She investigates her cases with intelligence and insight, countering the challenges of chauvinism around her. She patiently navigates the troubling relationship with her mother (and her Mami’s live-in fiancé) and her own rocky romance with a wealthy gringo who runs a local resort hotel.

Amato’s intimate knowledge of Acapulco and Mexican culture provides an elaborate setting for this adventure, and her portrayal of Mexican police procedure, in all its political convolutedness, is fully convincing. Because Catholicism is so intricately bound to Mexican culture, its presence is never forced – it is part of the atmosphere. But pious Catholic readers should not expect a “safe” story, as Emilia’s faith is largely cultural. She respects her religious traditions, and her faith (such as it is) informs her values of loyalty, ntegrity, justice and dignity for the downtrodden, but she beds her beau without guilt and drops the “F-bomb” easily with her salty-tongued police partner, Silvio.

Still, Emilia is an admirable pursuer of what-is-right, and this reviewer is eager to get the backstory with the earlier entries in this colorfully written, compelling contribution to international crime fiction.

Publisher:
ISBN-13: 978-1502715449
Original Language: English
Book Dimensions:


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A former producer with Wisconsin Public Radio, John Desjarlais teaches journalism and English at Kishwaukee College in northern Illinois. His first novel, The Throne of Tara (Crossway 1990, 2000), was a Christianity Today Readers Choice Award nominee, and his medieval thriller, Relics (Thomas Nelson 1993, 2009) was a Doubleday Book Club Selection. Bleeder and Viper (Chesterton Press, 2009 and 2011 respectively) are the first two entries in a contemporary mystery series. The third title, Specter, is forthcoming. Blood of the Martyrs (2012), a short story collection, is available at Amazon Kindle Select. A member of Mystery Writers of America, he is listed in Who's Who in Entertainment and Who's Who Among America's Teachers.

 


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