Private eye Carlotta Carlyle (Deep Pockets, 2004, etc.) leaves Boston for the Colombian mountains to search for her missing “little sister.”
Whenever Paolina Fuentes has felt threatened or neglected, she’s retreated into the certainty that she has a family beyond Marta Silva and Jimmy Fuentes. Past conversations and gifts encourage her to dream that her real father is Carlos Roldán Gonzales, the fearsome druglord fabled throughout Colombia as El Martillo, the Hammer. When Carlotta suddenly learns that Paolina’s been AWOL for three days, she assumes that she’s with Diego Martinez, her equally missing boyfriend. But Paolina’s hopped a flight to Bogotá under the impression that the nice couple who got in touch with her will be taking her to her father. Not surprisingly, they have other plans. As Carlotta follows in her little sister’s footsteps, courtesy of some fancy cutting back and forth between the two parallel odysseys, she gradually realizes how much more than Paolina’s life is at stake. According to official reports, Roldán is dead, along with his leading associates, who were either shot by Colombian forces or taken into custody by the DEA. Even if he’s still alive, his business interests are rumored to extend far beyond the relatively innocent business of raising coca leaves. How will a girl he hasn’t seen since she was a baby fit into his current plans?
Though the hunt for Roldán precludes much mystery, Barnes handles the obligatory search-for-roots tale with warmth and conviction.