Cliff Diver (An Emilia Cruz Novel), by Carmen Amato
Price: $3.99
318 pages, with a 4.7-star rating from 49 reviews

"Great, fast read! This is the first mystery I've encountered that is set in Mexico. The book captured both the drug war and Mexican corruption with astonishing authenticity. I really got a sense of the Mexico behind Acapulco's tourism. The book is refreshingly real and totally believable. It is fast paced with amazingly well-drawn characters. It's also not heavy on forensics, but the real quality is in the storytelling and the continual plot twists as Emilia tries to run down the facts. There is a great web of relationships, notably between between Emilia and the other detectives--not all the world is very evolved when it comes to women taking over traditionally male jobs--and Emilia and her unhinged mother. I also enjoy the promise of a simmering romance. Highly recommended for those looking for a fast, fresh take on cop mysteries." -- Amazon reviewer
When Emilia Cruz, Acapulco's first and only female police detective, dives into the investigation of a dirty cop's death, she might just hit the rocks instead of the water. With hot nights on the beach and suspense straight out of the headlines, CLIFF DIVER and the Emilia Cruz mystery series go inside Mexico's drug war with a fearless style and a woman who'll be hard to forget.

Forced to lead the murder investigation into the death of her shady lieutenant, Emilia faces resentment from the other detectives as well as a blood-spattered crime scene, no witnesses, and the shadow of counterfeit ransom money. Reluctant to take on the investigation, Emilia soon learns that the dead lieutenant led a double life in Acapulco full of illicit sex and financial manipulation, all of which would be either red herrings or keys to the crime. Missing police files, the lieutenant's involvement with a past kidnapping, and a possible link to a gang working for a drug cartel further combine to make this a messy case with too many loose ends.

Expecting to become a target herself because of her own brush with the lieutenant's counterfeit scheme, Emilia must move quickly to find the killer. But as she pieces together the lieutenant's last hours, she becomes a pawn in an ugly game of corruption, money, and power being played by the Pacific resort city's ambitious mayor and a police union strongman with questionable motives. Luxury hotel manager Kurt Rucker has some advice for Emilia but the heat between them quickly becomes a complicating factor.

Under pressure from politicians, other cops, and the powerful union, Emilia feels like Acapulco's famous cliff divers, plunging into suspense and praying not to crash on the rocks below. She'll follow her instincts but will she survive if she uncovers the truth?

Emilia Cruz is a good liar, a fast thinker, a determined investigator and a mean kickboxer. The mystery series is as raw and action-filled as the headlines coming out of Mexico today, but just like the country, Emilia is also resilient and warm-hearted. An Acapulco native forced to grow up too fast, she's 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 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.

But the one thing she doesn't know how to handle is gringo Kurt Rucker, the manager of a luxury hotel in Acapulco. A former US Marine, he has the confidence and leadership qualities she admires. A triathlete, he's calm under pressure and knows what he wants. But does Emilia?

There's the Acapulco that tourists know; the sweep of the most beautiful bay in the world, the majesty of the clear blue Pacific, candlelit nights on the beach, and luxury hi-rises. There's also the Acapulco that is a prize to be fought over by drug cartels--the city that is home to hookers and thieves, the streets where life is cheap and poverty is as pervasive as the wind off the ocean. Both versions of Acapulco claw at each other and force Emilia to survive between them. No investigation will be easy, no crime will be simple.

Carmen Amato has taken the classic mystery and given it a contemporary Mexican twist. The result is an adrenaline-charged novel with the emotional vibe of those who live on the edge. See why amazon reviewers say "Can't wait to read the next of Amato's novels!"

Grab a margarita and come on down to Acapulco . . . If you can take the heat.

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Meet the Author

International mystery author Carmen Amato combines complex plots with characters and settings drawn from her experiences living in Mexico and Central America. If you like Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo, Leighton Gage, and Donna Leon, you'll love Carmen Amato. Carmen was born in New York and educated there as well as Virginia and Paris, France. Her family tree includes a mayor, a Mensa genius, and the first homicide in the state of Connecticut with an automatic weapon. The perpetrator, her great-grandfather, eluded a state-wide manhunt after killing two people-one of whom was his wife-and was never brought to justice. Carmen currently divides her time between the United States and Central America. Visit her website at and connect with her at and on Twitter @CarmenConnects. Her boards illustrate her books at

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