The Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series


Books are ultimately visual things and the Emilia Cruz mystery series was written with some specific faces in mind. Here’s the dreamcast for an awesome movie or television series.

America Ferrera as Emilia Cruz


America Ferrera as Emilia Cruz

Emilia smiled back, caught, knowing this was the wrong place and the wrong time and the wrong man but unable to stop smiling at this gringo whose world of wealth and leisure was light years away from the barrio she came from. She wished she was wearing something nicer than her work uniform of jeans, tee shirt and the Spanish walking sandals that had cost two months’ salary. Her gun was in a shoulder holster and her straight black hair was scraped into its usual long ponytail. 

America Ferrera portrays the same combination of tough and vulnerable. Before she was Ugly Betty’s Betty Suarez, she was a young girl sobbing out her  anger to her father over the phone in a riveting piece of acting in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

An Acapulco native forced to grow up too fast, Emilia Cruz has been a cop for nearly 12 years and a detective for two; a strong Latina woman in a squadroom that didn’t want her and is still trying to break her. But Emilia isn’t afraid to defend herself and get what she’s rightfully earned. She’s a good liar, a fast thinker, a determined investigator and a mean kickboxer.

She knows that many women in Mexico don’t get the chances she’s had and the proof is in a log she tracks of women who have gone missing. Her dedication has been all-consuming, leaving her little time for love.

Benjamin Bratt as Victor Obregon Sosa


Benjamin Bratt as union boss Victor Obregon Sosa

One of them looked vaguely familiar, as if he’d been in the newspaper lately. He was in his late thirties, with longish dark hair slicked back from a high forehead and the sort of angular cheekbones that spoke of a strong indio heritage. He wore a black leather blazer over a black tee shirt and cuffed pants. There was a slight bulge under the left arm. He looked around as if he owned the place. Emilia stopped typing. The man exuded power.

Benjamin Bratt is a well-known face to movie and television watchers. I especially liked him in Law and Order years ago. He’s riveting in everything and never looks ordinary. He’s got the power needed for this role.  

The head of the police union in the state of Guerrero, Obregon rules police resources in Acapulco and the rest of the state with an iron hand. He likes power and likes to show that he has it. Dark good looks, obvious muscle, and black clothing are all part of the Obregon brand. Sex with him is always on offer. Emilia knows it would be wild, brief and imminently regrettable.

Salma Hayek as Carlota Montoya Perez


Salma Hayek as Carlota Montoya Perez

Emilia had voted for Carlota Montoya Perez a year ago because the other candidate for mayor was a communist. She’d also voted for Carlota Montoya Perez because the woman was the most exciting politician in the state of Guerrero.

“Victor.” The mayor strode into the room wearing a dark coral portrait collar jacket with bracelet-length sleeves and a matching pencil skirt that skimmed the top of her calves. Jet black hair brushed her shoulders and framed the well-known face. Carlota’s makeup was so perfect as to be nearly invisible but Emilia knew no woman was that gorgeous without some help. Her age was a well-kept secret; the woman could have been anything from 25 to 50 years old.

I wrote this character with Salma Hayek in mind. She can be serious or funny but always has a big dramatic presence. I thought she was wonderful in Frida, capturing the women’s odd personality and artistic vision.

The mayor of Acapulco is beautiful, ambitious, and controlling. She is the most exciting politician in the state of Guerrero. She is determined to revive tourism in Acapulco and make it a major world conference center. To that end she’ll gloss over anything she thinks will make the city look bad. Oh, and she wants Acapulco to host a summer Olympics. Her relationship with Obregon is a bit of a mystery but likely one of mutual manipulation.

Ryan Gosling as Kurt Rucker

actor Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling as Kurt Rucker in CLIFF DIVER dreamcast. Photo courtesy of

“Don’t ever lie to me, Emilia.” Kurt’s voice was totally without humor.

His face was tense. It struck Emilia that Kurt Rucker would be a dangerous enemy. Certainly he looked able to beat either Gomez or Castro to a pulp; he was extremely fit and his fighting skills would be that of a soldier. But he’d be even more dangerous than Obregon who wore his menace in front of him like a shield. Kurt hid his power behind a mask of congeniality and crisp shirts. Kurt would have the element of surprise.

Ryan Gosling is the sort of leading man who doesn’t need a huge leading role in order to make it memorable. Of course we all fell in love with him in The Notebook and gush whenever he’s in the news, but he projects a steady confidence as well as sexiness and that’s what Kurt Rucker is all about.

A native of New York who grew up on a farm, Kurt is a quietly confident man who enlisted in the US Marine Corps, went to war, and then went to college where he “studied hotel and restaurant management so I’d never have to go back to that farm.” He manages Acapulco’s most luxurious hotel, serves on the prestigious Acapulco Hotel Association board, and speaks fluent Spanish. Kurt moves easily in any environment, from Emilia’s uncle’s garage in a poor neighborhood to the mayor’s boardroom. A competitive triathlete, he is very different from any other man Emilia knows.


These are some of the songs playing in the background of this mystery series . . .

Loco in Acapulco by The Four Tops

What a Cryin’ Shame by The Mavericks

Whenever, Wherever by Shakira

Tu es mi religion by Mana

Just Another Day by Jon Secada


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