King Peso is the latest offering by Carmen Amato in the Emilia Cruz crime mystery series set in the corrupted Mexico.
Emilia is a by now seasoned detective working at the Acapulco police station with colleagues who range from liking her, to being weary of her, to disliking her and wanting her out of the way. For good. She is the only female detective on the force, hence the major resentment by many of her colleagues.
There is a killer in town, one who killed already several seemingly honest cops. So she knows that there soon will be a task force set up to work the case and stop the killer from targeting any more of her colleagues. And when her partner – Silvio’s wife is also killed, Emilia knows that she could be the killer’s very next target.
So when she is summoned to a meeting at the major’s office, she knows that something is finally being done about the situation. Maybe the task force is finally being created, with her being part of it as well?
Much to her surprise, the meeting is about something else entirely. Something so trivial that I actually burst out laughing when I’ve read the reason. Someone seems to want Emilia out of the way so she can no longer conduct her investigation into the death of Silvio’s wife and the deceased police officers. But who would want her away from the case and what is her boss hiding in his office anyway?
And if that is not enough for Emilia, she seems to have troubles in paradise as well. Kurt, her boyfriend, seems to be hiding some terrible secret from her, which she fears that will just draw them apart once he will finally come clean with it.
The book is full of surprises, twists and turns, and the suspense is there all the time. Things are never what they seem, and Emilia has a hard time finding out the truth since everyone seems to only want to hamper her investigation any way they can. And the fact that her partner, Silvio, left the force in anger upon his release after being imprisoned for a week under suspicion of killing his wife, doesn’t help her case at all. Afterall Emilia is trying to solve his wife’s murder, can’t he see that?
I really like Emilia, I liked her from the very first book. She is a strong character with integrity who doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind even to the big bosses when she knows she’s right. She is not afraid of a good fight – figuratively and literally, and some of her bully colleagues’ faces have met with her firsts more than once.
The story is well written and you almost believe you are in the two faceted Acapulco, right there drinking champagne with the rich gringos in the expensive hotels and casinos, when not fighting crime along with the likes of Emilia and Silvio, two real heroes, shining beacons of Mexico.
I am now looking forward to another book in the series because I’m sure her last interaction with the chief of police Salazar will not have been forgotten, not when millions of dollars went down the drains in the process…