DEATH BLOW  by Isabella  Maldonado


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Phoenix homicide detective Veranda Cruz has many reasons to want cartel king Hector Villalobos captured, but her job becomes even more complicated when it gets personal.

In this third installment of the series (Blood’s Echo, 2017, etc.), Cruz admits that she is actually the daughter of Villalobos, born to her mother, Lorena, after Villalobos killed Lorena’s husband and then raped her. Cruz and her team have had some success in stopping the cartel. However, Villalobos’ acknowledged daughter, Daria, is determined to kill Cruz to prove to her father that she is capable of eventually running the cartel and just as willing to use his weapons of torture and murder to accomplish her mission. As the two groups battle, with betrayals on each side, the scenes of violence are sometimes balanced by the realistic cop-humor dialogue, made believable by the author’s background in law enforcement and only sometimes slowed down by overwrought writing (“Frustration had whipped through her like a fresh squall churning an already stormy sea”). The author further enriches the plot with glimpses into Veranda’s loving relationship with her family without letting readers forget for one moment how tough and hardheaded she is.

If you’re in the mood for a nonstop exposé of every fear you’ve ever had about cartel crime, Veranda Cruz is the woman to follow.

Pub Date: March 8th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-7387-5103-0
Page count: 312pp
Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2019