Paperback $15.99: Amazon
A political campaign turned deadly. A little girl who saw too much. An honest cop in a land of corruption.
The leading candidate for head of government in Mexico City is boldly assassinated during the campaign. When his chief political rival is arrested for the murder, Raja and Vinny are called to investigate. With ruthless drug cartels and widespread corruption blocking their path, Raja and Vinny must solve the crime and stop a deadly plot that could change Mexico forever.
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING
“An awesome and addicting thriller“
“The Mexican Way is another well written book that provides history of the area, intrigue and discussion of current issues. The reading pace is just right and you don’t want to put it down.”
“Tight plot, great twists,last second escapes, Raja and Vinny ragging each other, what more could you want! Read it now!”
Pedro Garcia was in Celestún with his family for a much needed break from the slugfest of a political battle he had been in the middle of for the past three months. A Mexican election is always contentious, but it isn’t usually the no-holds-barred street fight this one had become. Especially not in a high profile election like the one for mayor of Mexico City. Mexico City, or Ciudad de México as it is known locally, is the third largest city in the Americas, and bigger than any in the U.S. Although not the financial rival of New York City, the expanding economy has raised Mexico City’s importance.
The intense muckraking during the election had targeted Pedro and spilled over onto his wife and daughter, something he partly attributed to a contagion from the vicious political climate in the recent U.S. media. Mexico was quick to learn from its neighbor to the north. When ratings rule, truth and sensibility take a back seat, or are thrown off the bus entirely.
The last of the debates between the three mayoral candidates had finished the day before, and there was now a small window for the candidates to recharge their batteries while the media parsed and analyzed the words of the debates ad nauseam. Of course, party affiliation and political slant ensured that the talking heads would disagree on who won. After every possible significance was wrung from the debates, the media would turn back to the actual candidates themselves, and then there would be no rest as the candidates galloped to the election finish line. Pedro felt good about his debate performance. Although he was running second by at least eight percentage points in all the polls, he knew he had scored against his opponent, and was confident he would close the gap.
Finding a place away from the media required some sleight of hand, and his campaign manager had chosen Paraiso del Mar, an exclusive private resort on the Yucatán coast. No ordinary tourist resort, the Sea Paradise, as its name translated, catered to an exclusive high end clientele. Maintaining a strict off limits policy for the media and the paparazzi made it a popular choice with the rich and famous.
The resort sat on a stretch of pristine white beach on the northwest side of the Yucatán peninsula. The climate was close to that of south-central Florida, making it the perfect spot to catch the warmth of both sun and sea. Featuring three five-star restaurants, a dozen small shops and a movie theater, there were enough activities to entertain guests in the cocooned resort environment they preferred.
His wife Maria knew Pedro needed some alone time to decompress. On this night she had taken their daughter to eat at Julio’s, a small buffet restaurant that featured their favorites, after which they went to see the movie, A Wrinkle in Time. Pedro opted for a long soak in the suite’s private Jacuzzi. He disrobed and turned the jets on high, sinking up to his neck in the warm water. As the water massaged his back he felt the muscles begin to unclench, and as he relaxed his body slid lower into the tub. The bubbles noisily churned the surface of the water around his head, and he never heard the commotion outside the door to his suite where his security detail was posted.
In another part of the resort, his rival Geraldo Escondido had a different idea for rest and recuperation. He, too, had flown in for a few days at the exclusive resort. However, he left his family behind in Mexico City. The girl in his bed was likely not much older than his own daughter, not that he cared. One of his financial backers had arranged for the girl to be there waiting when he arrived, a not so subtle reminder that the backer expected a quid pro quo for his support.
The rumors that Escondido’s campaign had spread about Pedro Garcia and his family were demeaning and completely without merit. The campaign covertly released three tidbits to the hungry media. First was a birth record that indicated that Pedro’s daughter was actually fathered by a drug cartel lieutenant. Along with that falsified document, a news article showed that the drug dealer in question was murdered shortly after the girl’s birth, and the murder was never solved. Finally, travel records indicated that Pedro Garcia had been in the town where it happened on the same day. The implication was that Pedro Garcia had killed the man out of revenge. This neat package of information arrived at the El Universal newspaper office in Mexico City. The plain manila envelope with no return address contained circumstantial evidence at best, but the newspaper was all too willing to connect the dots and post the story on the front page as a blockbuster exposé.
The whole thing was fake news, and once the real birth certificate had been uncovered and verified, the story had quickly faded. However, in a Catholic country like Mexico, such a sordid family story left a lasting impression.
To a better man, tactics like this would have been disturbing and unacceptable. Captain Escondido, a veteran of the Mexican military, was not a better man. He was a warrior who considered ruining his opponent’s reputation and disgracing his family to be acceptable collateral damage that comes with any battle, in any war. In fact, the whole thing had been his idea.
Now, despite the carnal distraction the young girl provided, the last debate insisted on replaying in Escondido’s head. Rather than attacking and crushing his opponents as he had wanted, he followed his campaign manager’s advice and stuck to debating the issues. It angered him that Pedro Garcia made good points on too many key topics. Although Escondido had paid off local voter poll officials to hedge his chances in the election, he was less than confident of a win.
Escondido took out his anger on the girl in his bed, treating her roughly. When he finished, he paid her and chased her from his suite. He ordered a T-bone steak from room service, and stepped into the large bathroom. He glanced from the Jacuzzi tub to the shower. Maybe a long shower would make him feel better.
With the water running over his head and down his body, Escondido could not hear when someone opened the door to his suite and slipped inside. As he rubbed his hairy chest, the bar of soap squirted from his hand and caromed off the shower wall, landing on the tile at his feet. He swore to himself and bent down to pick it up. When he stood up, a large shadow darkened the stall. The shower curtain slid open and Escondido’s eyes locked on the gun pointed at him. Before he could react, the gunman fired three muted shots, two to the chest and one center forehead. Escondido opened his lips to speak, but only blood poured silently from his mouth. The bar of soap slipped from his hand and skidded through the blood that was rapidly accumulating on the tile. Escondido slumped back against the shower wall and slid down to the floor, already dead.
Paperback $15.99: Amazon