THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY by Carmen Amato
Caught between Mexico's class system and the country's spiraling drug war, an attorney and a maid fight for their lives and each other in a political thriller torn from today's headlines. By the author of the explosive Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco. Here’s an excerpt!
To the old man’s credit he didn’t flinch. They both knew that if Eddo recommended it, his uncle Bernardo Cortez, Marca Cortez’s chairman, would move the company’s money elsewhere. Banco de Vieja Puebla would collapse and the Bernal family fortunes along with it.
A muscle in Bernal Paz’s jaw bunched. “How long have you been director of the Ministry of Public Security’s Office of Special Investigations?”
“Over four years,” Eddo said. “I was the first official sworn in after the election.”
“Four years.” Bernal Paz’s voice trembled with anger. “In all that time you’ve been concealed. Lurking in the shadows. Oh, you’ve caught some people and made a few statements. But even when you were seeing that blonde television woman no one knew who you were.”
Eddo nodded once in acknowledgment. For the year they’d dated he’d managed to stay on the periphery of Elsa’s fame. She’d hated his reserve and avoidance of the limelight right up to the day they’d agreed to go their separate ways.
“This is not what your father wanted for you.” Bernal Paz jabbed a finger into the air at Eddo. “You were a disappointment. He wanted you to take over Marca Cortez. To be its lifeblood the way he was. Instead you run off to that fancy norteamericano college. Let Romero fill your head with crazy ideas in law school and then you threw away all that education by joining up with the police. You were with scum and you’ve become just the same.” Spittle flew from a corner of his mouth. “Never marrying, never carrying on the Cortez name. You wipe your feet on tradition, Eduardito. And now this. You’re the man who lifts skirts to see the shit underneath.”
Eddo pushed the warrant back to Bernal Paz’s side of the table. “Two weeks. Whatever you find send to the office at Marca Cortez.”
Bernal Paz snatched up the warrant and stuffed it into the inside pocket of his superbly tailored suit jacket, his face tight with suppressed fury. “I do this only because when I pray for the repose of your father’s soul I can say that when his son asked for help and invoked his name I gave him the help he asked for.”
Bernal Paz pushed out his chair and stood. The man was older, more frail than when he’d entered the restaurant two hours before. Eddo stood up, too, and at that moment their status and power were equal.
“Mark my words, Eduardito.” Bernal Paz’s voice was so low Eddo had to strain to hear. “Hugo de la Madrid Acosta is a powerful man. He’ll learn of this investigation and when he does, you’re a dead man. A dead man.”
Eddo met Bernal Paz’s eyes. “Maybe I already am.”
“Two weeks,” Bernal Paz spat. “And you will not be welcome in my house again.”
The old man stalked out of the restaurant, acknowledging no one although he probably knew most of the patrons.
Eddo sat down. A wave of nausea hit him and he had to lift his chin and gulp air to prevent the searing bile from coming up.
The waitress in her elaborate pleated paper gown smiled at him inquiringly as she lifted away the remains of the meal. “A postre, señor? I could show you the dessert tray.”
“No, thank you,” Eddo said hoarsely. A sugar rush was the last thing he ever needed. “A brandy, please.”
The waitress brought a balloon glass and Eddo sipped the brandy, listening to the hum of unspoken deals and the slick murmur of political wheels being greased. The nausea passed, leaving his body churning with tension and residual adrenaline. The exchange with Bernal Paz had been a hell of a way to end the week, especially given his lack of sleep. He was dealing with the pressure of the investigation with his usual prescription of running and working out, but it was turning him into a chronic insomniac.
At least tomorrow was Saturday, the day when he’d go to La Marquesa, the big area of scrubby parkland between Mexico City and Toluca. He’d played fútbol there every Saturday since his earliest police days.
That’s when he’d run and run until he was nothing more than two feet and a pair of lungs, until he coughed blood and stank of sweat and forgot for an hour or two everything that he was and what he had to do and the people who’d get hurt along the way.
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About the Author
Carmen Amato is author of political thriller THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY and the EMILIA CRUZ police procedural mystery series set in Acapulco, including CLIFF DIVER and HAT DANCE. Originally from New York, her years in Mexico and Central America provided the impetus for her writing career. A frequent traveler, Carmen can always be found on Twitter @CarmenConnects overdosing on coffee and talking about books, culture, and Mexico.
Author website: http://carmenamato.net
Get a free Emilia Cruz mystery story: http://carmenamato.net/get-beast-free-story/
Stay in touch! Carmen@carmenamato.net
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