Coming Soon! PACIFIC REAPER: A Detective Emilia Cruz #Mystery

Coming Soon! PACIFIC REAPER: A Detective Emilia Cruz #Mystery

PACIFIC REAPER, the 5th book in the Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series will be released for Kindle on 28 March, with the paperback version coming the following week. Detective Emilia Cruz discovers an altar to Santa Muerte at a crime scene and the case will impact her as no other.

Related: Get the Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library

Emilia meets Santa Muerte

A gang war is terrorizing Acapulco.

Murder victims are sacrificed to Santa Muerte, Mexico’s forbidden saint of death.

Will you investigate? Or be cursed?

Detective Emilia Cruz confronts her worst fears in PACIFIC REAPER, the 5th book in the sensational police procedural series set in today’s Acapulco. Emilia and her partner Franco Silvio respond to murder in the remote Coyuca Lagoon reserve and find an elaborate altar to Santa Muerte next to the body of a known gang member. Even hardened cops are frightened by the bloody scene’s warning to the enemies of Santa Muerte.

Rivals retaliate by hanging a murder victim on a billboard. Gang warfare erupts like wildfire, burning a line across Acapulco bay.

Focusing on the Santa Muerte angle, Emilia’s investigation is soon a maze of unholy clues. At the same time, everyone close to her has a brush with death. Bad luck? Or is the Skeleton Saint’s curse coming true?

Undercover as a Santa Muerte worshipper, Emilia’s life will be stripped of everything she holds dear.

Her family.

Her lover.

Her job.

Herself.

Related: Why Acapulco is an Unforgettable Setting for a Mystery Series

Unholy inspiration

PACIFIC REAPER was inspired by the growing cult of Santa Muerte in Mexico, documented in the seminal book DEVOTED TO DEATH by R. Andrew Chesnut. Dr. Chesnut writes that “Santa Muerte is first and foremost an unofficial saint who heals, protects, and delivers devotees to their destinations in the afterlife . . . Whether as a plaster statue or on a votive candle, gold medallion or a prayer card, she is most often depicted as a female Grim Reaper, weilding the same sythe and wearing a shroud similar to her male counterpart.”

Related: Book Review: DEVOTED TO DEATH

The cult of Santa Muerte in Mexico is growing rapidly and has been associated with both cartel violence and law enforcement. Dr. Chesnut notes that “Her appeal to all sides in the drug war testifies to . . . the force of her attraction to those whose line of work gives them an acute sense of their own mortality.” The dark side of Santa Muerte includes ritual killings, altars, tattoos and practices bordering on witchcraft.

The saint has many names: Skeleton Saint, The WhiteSister, The Bony Lady, etc. All of them give me the shivers.

You can check out Dr. Chesnut’s informative website about Santa Muerte: https://skeletonsaint.com/ and read his well-researched posts on The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/rachesnut-570

Get ready for REAPER

A few months ago, NPR’s Felix Contreras asked me how many Emilia Cruz books I would write. Five seems like a huge milestone but I have enough ideas and research for 100! That being said, if you haven’t read the first four, get going before REAPER sneaks up on you!

Detective Emilia Cruz series

Cover reveal

Once again, cover artist Matt Chase has nailed it! The cover of PACIFIC REAPER is my new favorite. What do you think?

Pacific Reaper

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Exciting News and Author Views

Exciting News and Author Views

It’s always exciting news when you learn something about yourself.

Recently, I’ve figured out that disappointment doesn’t mean failure. Frustration doesn’t mean giving up. And creativity is a muscle. The more you work it, the more you have.

But first, the bad news

AWAKENING MACBETH is a romantic thriller with a paranormal twist. It’s my first book NOT set in Mexico (that I will publish, that is) and the first thing I’ve ever written that has the word “paranormal” attached to it.

Last October, I submitted AWAKENING MACBETH to the Kindle Scout program, which provides a platform for readers to select books, based on cover, description, and excerpt, that they would like to see published by Kindle Press. This means that while the book would be available to Kindle readers, the same as all my other books, Kindle Press would actively promote the book in return for a 5-year exclusivity contract.

AWAKENING MACBETH was not selected.

Now, the good news.

AWAKENING MACBETH was not selected.

Bear with me. The silver lining here is that the book will be released with no strings attached, which is important as I look at film rights options, foreign language sales, and other ways to reach new audiences.

Alas, the cover

The cover of AWAKENING MACBETH is being troublesome. For those regular readers of this blog, you’ll remember that when I released excerpts of the book as a serial last year, this was the cover image:

Print

Some readers noted that it could be a vampire story, which it is not.

So for Kindle Scout, I went through the excitement of a design competition with 99designs.com, which resulted in this cover:

Awakening Macbeth novel

But the feedback on this is 1. Her hair looks fake (the artist had to change the color from brunette to blonde and it got helmet-esque), and 2. This could be a pirate or bondage story. Ahem, none of the above.

While I am disappointed in the result of the 99designs experience, I’m excited to be confronted with a new design challenge. So stay tuned, a new cover will grace the release of the book later this month.

Of course, Mystery Ahead newsletters are ALWAYS the first to get book release news, so if you haven’t signed up, better do it now.

Don’t remember the premise for AWAKENING MACBETH? Here you go:

Shattered by her father’s death, history professor Brodie Macbeth has terrifying nightmares. In her sleep, people will kill for a secret Brodie doesn’t know.

Blame it on the grief, everyone says. Brodie tries, but it takes meeting Joe Birnam, an Iraq War vet with his own demons, before she can finally let go of the dreams and learn to love.

Yet when a colleague makes a shocking claim and demands her father’s secret, Brodie realizes that the nightmares are a real and deadly game. The prize? Joe Birnam’s immortal soul.

But Brodie doesn’t know how to play, let alone win.

Friends in high places

Over the last two weeks I’ve been lucky enough to be featured on several bookish websites, talking about KING PESO and sharing some excerpts. KING PESO is the 4th Detective Emilia Cruz novel, in which Emilia tracks down a cop killer even as she is reassigned to an all-female patrol unit.

I also had a chance to talk to Mary Rosenblum, author, teacher, editor, and powerhouse behind The New Writer’s Interface. Mary’s services fill the gap for independent and emerging authors that once upon a time traditional publishers filled: content editing, structural critique, blurb writing, etc. More than that, she’s an astutue publishing insider who knows how authors need to position themselves and their works for success.

We had a great conversation about what got me writing and what advice we have for new authors. Check it out here.

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CARMEN AMATO

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

 

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