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Every Wednesday The Latina Book Club features excerpts from exciting novels by Latino authors.  

Happy Reading and Happy Holidays!

Take a break from your holiday shopping! Find a comfy chair, grab a mojito and lose yourself in this thrilling and hair-raising novel about Acapulco’s first female detective, Emilia Cruz, who’s taking on Mexico’s drug cartels and the culture of machismo. Good thing she can take the heat.  Can you?! 



The reunion in the squad room was less than overwhelming. Loyola was gone, retired on disability. Ibarra was acting lieutenant but had already filed his papers for a transfer to Vice. Macias and Sandor weren’t there but at a conference on criminal network analysis. Castro and Gomez were subdued, unsure of what all the changes meant for them.

Emilia went to her old desk. The Las Perdidas binder went back into the big file drawer. She’d already gone over to the building on Avenida Almendros, collected her things, and said goodbye to everyone.

Natividad would step into her shoes, ready to make Las Palomas part of the hunt for missing women. The younger woman would be a better advocate for the unit; already she was more politically adroit than was Emilia. They would stay in touch.

Ibarra avoided her eye as he handed out a robbery report from Dispatch. Silvio looked in Loyola’s office and found the keys to his official vehicle. Clad in leather jacket, white tee, and jeans, Silvio led the way to the parking lot as if he’d never been gone. Like him, Emilia pretended it was simply another day.

She settled into the passenger seat. Silvio put the key into the ignition and started the car.

Emilia tapped the address from Dispatch into the GPS app on her phone. “Got it,” she announced. “Should take us about 15 minutes.”

Silvio turned on the air conditioning, found the control for the side view mirrors, and played with the settings. Emilia looked out the window and waited. The lot was full of standard Acapulco police cars, emblazoned with lights and lettering, as well as unmarked official vehicles. The morning sun glinted off chrome and paint. Three rows over, a couple of uniforms milled around the guard shack, trading weekend war stories and waiting to check the identification of incoming drivers.

“You ready?” Emilia finally asked.

“Yeah.” Silvio fiddled with his seat, adjusting it back and forth.

“What are we going to do about Castro?” Emilia asked. “He stole evidence to use as a bribe.”

“I’ll think of something.”

“Regretting not having taken the promotion?” Emilia asked. “Chief Salazar would have made you lieutenant. Even a captain, you know.”

“Stuck in an office with a mountain of paperwork.” Silvio gave her a sideways look. “No, thanks. I’m better off on the street.”

“Yeah,” Emilia said. “That’s what I figured.”

Silvio played with the side mirrors again. The electronic whine of the adjustment mechanism got on Emilia’s nerves. She checked her phone for text messages.

“I shouldn’t have said that you were a shit partner,” Silvio mumbled.

Emilia lowered her phone, surprised that Silvio would offer anything even remotely resembling an apology.

“I didn’t want you involved,” he went on. “I knew this thing was fucked up and if you poked around, something bad would happen.”

“But you were right,” Emilia said softly. “I was a shit partner. You called when you needed me and I didn’t answer. Or call back.”

Silvio looked away.

“I thought you were drunk,” Emilia continued. “Calling to tell me I’d lost my bet. A better partner would have known you were in trouble. I should have trusted you.”

A hoarse gasp cut the air. Silvio’s shoulders heaved and he began to weep, making no effort to hide his tears. The car filled with the raw and rusty sound of the big man’s breakdown.

His pain, hidden for so long, was gut wrenching. Emilia reached across the console and pried his right hand off the steering wheel. Silvio hung on to her as if he’d never let go.

Emilia didn’t say anything. She kept her hand in his as Silvio wept, letting the pressure of her fingers be a message, telling him that tomorrow he’d be able to pick up the pieces and go on.

Telling him that he wasn’t alone. ###

Book Summary: Imagine if you were the first and only female police detective in Acapulco, investigating crime in a city both deadly and breathtaking. Mexican drug cartels battle for control and politicians are bought with blood money. Three cops have been murdered. You worked with them all. Your partner’s wife is killed in a home invasion. Was he the real target? Are you the next?  Such is the life of Detective Emilia Cruz in KING PESO, the 4th book in this sensational police procedural series set in Acapulco.

About the Author Carmen Amato is the author of romantic thrillers and the Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco. Originally from New York, her travels around the world inspire many of her books. Readers can find her website at, where they are invited to subscribe to Carmen’s newsletter and get a free copy of the Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library. Connect with her on Facebook, follow on Twitter and Pinterest.

Order your copy today by clicking here.

Happy Reading.  Happy Holidays.