CLIFF DIVER: An Emilia Cruz Novel -- a mystery by Carmen Amato

CLIFF DIVER, now available for kindle at for $2.99, is the first book in my new Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco. Emilia is the first and only female detective on the Acapulco police force, a situation that vibrates with tension and authenticity. When she's forced to investigate her own lieutenant's murder, she quickly becomes a pawn in a dangerous game of power, corruption, and counterfeit money. Challenges comes from all sides, with an ending that one reviewer said felt like "a punch to the stomach" and that he'll "read everything this author writes after this."

So why a mystery series set in Acapulco with a female detective as the central character?

1. Acapulco is a prize being fought over by rival drug cartels. For better or worse, inspiration for new books is in Mexico's news every week.
2. The city is one of my favorite vacation spots with the world's best beaches and hotels, but it has just been named as the second most violent city in the world. In 2012, 1 in 752 people in Acapulco died as a result of homicide.
3. Tourism continues to be the city's lifeblood but the Emilia Cruz mystery series is not just about the tourism. Acapulco has two faces; one of luxury and one of poverty. Both will claw at Emilia and force her survive between them.
4. The culture of machismo is still going strong in Mexico. A woman in a traditionally male bastion—the detective squadroom—means she'll encounter active dislike and distrust, as well as inappropriate behavior. How will Emilia deal with it?
5. Women in Mexico need an advocate. The reality is that many women are missing in the country's drug wars and the cost of trying to find out what happened to them is often more than a family's annual income. Emilia keeps a list of "las perdidas;" missing women from Acapulco. Stories of real "disappeared" women in Mexico will find their way into the Emilia Cruz novels.
6. The US audience already knows the iconic city of Acapulco. The catchy name is associated with surfing, spring break, and Old Hollywood.
7. Movie potential. Crime and sex on the beach. Need I say more?

Emilia and I are in it for the long haul. We'll see if a mystery series can raise awareness of what's going on in Mexico, with plot elements straight out of the headlines, an authentic dive into one of the most beautiful settings on earth, and a little salsa fresca from my own years living in best all inclusive Mexico and Central America.

HAT DANCE, the next Emilia Cruz mystery novel is slated for release in late summer 2013. Grab a margarita, think hot nights on the beach and come on down to Acapulco . . . if you can take the heat!