Great mystery novels need drama and dialogue. HAT DANCE, the latest Emilia Cruz novel, delivers both but sometimes words aren’t enough. Sometimes it helps to have images as well.

Here is a bit about the book, which is being released for Kindle today and in paperback later this week, with images that give a taste of what this mystery series is all about.

The plot

Emilia barely escapes an arson attack that appears to be an effort to assassinate Acapulco’s popular mayor. Assigned to investigate, Emilia cannot shake off her own fears of the fire and her narrow escape from it. But even as she tries to focus on the arson investigation, Emilia is bound by a promise to look into the disappearance of a girl from Emilia’s own neighborhood. That simple promise will lead to some nasty family secrets and a jailed hooker who knows more than she is saying.

old concrete wall and chandelier

As the arson investigation veers off-course and Emilia lands on the wrong side of a dirty Vice cop, she’ll start making deals for access and information. But everybody knows that an honest cop can’t afford to deal with the devil . . .

Read Chapter 1 here

The cast

Many characters that readers met in CLIFF DIVER are back:

  • Emilia Cruz Encinos: the first and only female detective on the Acapulco police force
  • Carlota Montoya Perez: Acapulco’s ambitious and scheming mayor
  • Victor Obregon: The head of the police union for the state of Guerrero is both powerful and dangerous
  • Kurt Rucker: A norteamericano hotel manager who wants more than Emilia can give
  • Franco Silvio: The senior detective doesn’t want women in the squadroom, making him Emilia’s most dangerous enemy
  • Chief Salazar: Acapulco’s chief of police walks a fine line between political stooge and serious cop

sleep_quotePlus some new faces:

  • Mercedes Sandoval: A dance teacher will become a much-needed new friend
  • Lt. Nelson Rufino: The new chief of detectives has secrets he’s not willing to share

Check out the Emilia Cruz dreamcast here.

The setting

As always, the city of Acapulco inspires drama and dialogue all by itself. There is the Acapulco that tourists know–the sweep of the most beautiful bay in the world, luxury hotels and condos, fabulous restaurants and night life. But there is also the Acapulco that is a prize to be fought over by drug cartels, a place where life is cheap and poverty is as pervasive as the salt spray coming off the ocean.

The two faces of Acapulco will claw at Emilia and force her to live between them. No crime is ever simple, no investigation is ever easy.



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drama and dialogue


Mystery and thriller author. Retired Central Intelligence Agency intel officer. Dog mom to Hazel and Dutch. Recovering Italian handbag addict.


Author Carmen Amato

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