We'd like to welcome debut author
MY BIG FAT LATINO NOVEL
by Isabella Maldonado
When I retired from crime fighting and took up crime writing, I decided to create a story with a different vibe. After over two decades in law enforcement, a police procedural was a natural choice. I loved reading about grizzled homicide detectives working the mean streets of New York or L.A., but wanted to offer something different to readers.
Different…like Mexican-American characters and culture and a strong Latina heroine with a complex back story and a huge heart. I’d seen movies and novels featuring Latino villains, but I wanted to reflect cultural diversity on both sides of the law. I also chose to set my story in a major city that wasn’t New York, L.A., Chicago, D.C., or Miami.
Not exactly what you see populating the shelves of most bookstores.
For a while, I hesitated, wondering if such a book would be published. Would crime fiction fans enjoy reading an edgy thriller with a large dollop of salsa picante on top? Then, as I watched my husband dab Vicks VapoRub on a cut one afternoon, I had an epiphany.
The movie didn’t succeed because people of Greek ancestry went to see it, but because it struck a chord with millions of families who make their way to our beautiful nation of immigrants. There was also the coming-of-age story of a young lady who is trying to break free from the smothering (if loving) influence of her relatives to discover who she is and make her place in the world. Many people, regardless of their own ethnic background, can relate. Stories, after all, are about the human condition. And good stories transcend specifics.
Energized, I wrote BLOOD’S ECHO, a police procedural set in Phoenix, featuring a Latina detective who pits herself against a Mexican drug cartel. Definitely not a romantic comedy, the story is fast-paced, brutal at times, with twists, long-buried secrets, and only a few humorous moments. Her relatives are both an asset and a liability for her, as is her police team and the arson investigator who stokes her fire.
The third group is law enforcement. I can tell you from personal experience that police departments are a kind of extended family that can be the tightest, or the most dysfunctional, of them all. When you depend on each other for survival, knowing there are people who would kill you if given the chance, a unique bond forms with your fellow officers. Detective Cruz is forced out of her position and into a different part of the department, where she must quickly determine who her allies and adversaries are.
Real families come in all sizes, configurations, and ethnicities. I’m hoping readers will enjoy a different culture and a fresh setting as they take a wild ride. After all, everyone has a family, and there’s more to bring us together than set us apart.
I am forever grateful to Terri Bischoff, who saw the book’s potential, and to Midnight Ink, which gave BLOOD’S ECHO the chance to find its audience.
Whenever the lust for drugs, money, and power lays claim to a city, brutality is never far behind. Phoenix detective Veranda Cruz is dead set on taking down the Villalobos Cartel, but the ruthlessness of her quarry demands a ruthless edge of her own.
Detective Veranda Cruz leads an elite task force on the Phoenix Police Drug Enforcement Bureau. Bartolo Villalobos is the heir apparent to the most powerful cartel in the world. No one in the department suspects the secret motive behind Veranda’s obsession with the cartel . . . until an operation goes horribly wrong.
Targeted by an increasingly unstable drug lord, Veranda must protect her family and stay clear of adversaries within the force while she sets a trap for Bartolo. As the desert action heats up, Veranda and her new Homicide team—along with an arson investigator who kindles a flame for her—are all drawn into a deadly gambit. Taking down Bartolo is the ultimate goal, but is Veranda ready to trade life for justice?
Isabella Maldonado retired from law enforcement as a Commander of Special Investigations and Forensics. During her long career, she was recognized with a Meritorious Service Award and a Lifesaving Award, and she was selected to attend executive management training at the FBI’s National Academy. Isabella is the immediate past president of the Phoenix chapter of Sisters In Crime. She lives in Mesa, Arizona. You can visit her at www.IsabellaMaldonado.com.