cover image Bloody Secrets

Bloody Secrets

Carolina Garcia-Aguilera. Putnam Publishing Group, $23.95 (274pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14386-1

A sensuous PI, the electric city of Miami, a volatile Cuban exile community--all are vital elements in the third appearance (after Bloody Shame, 1997) of Lupe Solano. Luis Delgado, a handsome, self-possessed Cuban refugee, has come to Solano Investigations with a story that arouses Lupe's deepest skepticism. He accuses the prominent de la Torre family, long known in Miami for their philanthropy and dedication to the arts, of defrauding his family of $2 million, having fled Cuba in 1958 with their combined fortunes while the Delgados failed to escape. In the 26 years before Luis was able to flee the island for Miami, his father died in prison and the de la Torres grew rich and fat on money that was not theirs. To top it all off, according to Luis, when he came to claim his family's share of the money, the de la Torres hired a hit man to kill him. Wary of his story yet physically attracted to him (not an unusual occurrence), Lupe agrees to investigate the respected and powerful de la Torres and puts into play a scheme carried out by a cadre of shrewd and loyal assistants. But soon one of them is strangled with a piano wire while on surveillance. Complex issues of revenge and betrayal within the exile community are played out against the glittering background of South Beach and at well-mannered and guarded society events. Corruption reaches everyone--even into Lupe's own family. With sharp-edged characters and some profound probing of moral ambiguities, the latest Lupe Solano tale is suspenseful, provocative and satisfying. (Feb.)