The Big Pivot

Do you remember the sofa moving scene in Friends? They guys are doing their best, but it’s too big to get up the stairs. Ross keeps yelling “Pivot, pivot” to no avail.

That’s 2020. In 2021 we’ll turn the corner.

My personal pivot

In 2020 I felt the need to write about something more uplifting than Mexican drug cartels.  (hmmm, wonder why?)  So after releasing NARCO NOIR (Book 8) and the box set of Books 1-6, I put the Detective Emilia Cruz series on pause and pivoted into the past.

(Don’t worry, there is more to come for Emilia.)

The GALLIANO CLUB historical thriller series is a BIG pivot. I’m going from contemporary crime on the mean streets of Acapulco (cell phones, video forensics, drug smuggling plazas) to a Prohibition era thriller trilogy (Tommy guns, Model T Fords, illegal breweries).

Related: The Galliano Series webpage

Playing the pivot

Not only have time and place changed, but style as well. In the Detective Emilia Cruz series, the reader is inside Emilia’s head the entire book. In the Galliano Club historical thriller series, there are multiple points of view, each with their own cadence and style. I’m reveling in the creative challenge.

Related: Mini Masterclass: how to write a mystery series

Galliano Club 3 book series

The 3 books in the Galliano series are meant to be read in order. Each book’s central plot unspools against the backdrop of a series-spanning story arc:


Luca Lombardo is the jack-of-all-trades at the Galliano Club, a hangout for Italian mill workers. The club is both home and family for Luca and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep it afloat, including staying silent about a murder.

From her apartment over the club, Ruth Cross witnessed the crime, but a scandalous past keeps her quiet.

Could hitman Benny Rotolo be involved? Run out of Chicago by Al Capone, Benny fled to Lido determined to establish his own bootlegging empire. Turning the Galliano Club into a speakeasy is Step 1.

The longer the murder at the Galliano Club goes unsolved, the bigger the trap of lies.

Who will get out alive?​



The heat is on in Lido, New York, when blackmail letters land on the Galliano Club’s doorstep. The message is simple: Pay or die.

Explosions follow. Will the club burn before Luca Lombardo, the club’s jack-of-all-trades, figures out who is behind the threats?

Warning: Blackmail is contagious. Police officer Sean O’Malley uses Ruth Cross’s past against her to get what he wants. Chicago hitman Benny Rotolo dabbles in the extortion racket, too.

As blackmail terrifies everyone connected to the Galliano Club, murder may be the only way out.



The body of a strangled woman is fished out of the Mohawk River near Lido, New York. With the help of Galliano Club members, she is identified as a waitress from Chicago.

Hanna Gorski travels to Lido, determined to find her sister’s killer. She’ll bring him to justice any way she can.

Luca Lombardo would help, but he’s in jail facing kidnapping charges. This is good news for Chicago hitman Benny Rotolo, who figures he can finally steal the Galliano Club and expand his bootlegging empire.

But Benny didn’t bargain on Hanna Gorski.

Neither did anybody else.


Leap of faith

When I started my writing career, I was worried about being pigeon-holed as a person who only writes books set in Mexico. It would have been easy to hang my hat on that, with a website decorated like a piñata, etc, etc. Instead I kept the focus on being a mystery and thriller author writ large.

But branching out into US historical fiction feels like a huge leap. Will my readers follow?

I hope so. The Galliano Club historical thriller series is packed with great new characters, dramatic events, and atmosphere from my home town.

Related post: From New York to Mexico and back again

This isn’t a Manhattan speakeasy tale with flappers and bathtub gin. This is illegal beer and blue-collar toughs.

Will you meet me at the Galliano Club?


Pinterest image The Big Pivot


  1. Bernard Avery

    Looking forward to being taken into the world of the Galliano Club and its protagonists. I’m sure you will have me imagining myself as a not so innocent bystander on a street corner, Monte Christo in hand, waiting for the carnage to clear so I can head inside for a few drams of my favourite rye tipple.

    Meanwhle Emilia has headed off for a beachside vacation in Fiji, only to be drawn into assisting local and international authorities deal with the next wave of yacht based Colombian drug exports that have been identified in one of Fiji’s marinas, on route to Australia.

    • Carmen

      This made me laugh out loud! Somebody may have to brew up some rockin’ rye behind the Galliano Club! Emilia may not head to Fiji any time soon but who knows? Thanks for all the great ideas.

You may also like

Galliano Club,historical thriller series


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


Mystery author newsletter

I think we have something in common.

We both love a great mystery!

Join the Mystery Ahead newsletter.

2 x month | book news & must-read mystery reviews

Check your email for a warm welcome and your Bonus gift! All the best, Carmen

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This