She's simply one of the hottest of Latina singers. Nothing in her life, however, is simple. In her native land she was involved with people the government didn't like, and she barely escaped with her life to start fresh in the United States. In her wake she left behind accusations about a former lover, about violence, and about blackmail. Now she's in Detroit to make her music and wants Amos Walker to protect her from those who have threatened her life. She also wants him to investigate someone from the darkest chapter in her former life. When Walker realizes that Gilia's main man, recently out of prison, doesn't regret the time he nearly killed Walker, what first seemed like an easy payday starts looking more and more like a losing proposition. Latin head, indeed. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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March 31, 2003
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Excerpt from Poison Blonde by Loren D. Estleman
The last line of security was a big Basque built like a coke oven. He wore a familiar face behind picador sideburns and a dozen-odd rivets in his eyebrows, nose, and the deep dimple above his lip. In another Detroit, under a different administration, he'd specialized in kneecapping Republicans. When the market went soft in '94, he'd scored work in show business, playing a succession of plumbers, janitors, and building superintendents in Spanish-language soap operas. I couldn't approach him without glancing down at his chest for a subtitle.
"Hello, Benny. I thought you'd be busy opening a supermarket."
He looked at me down the treacherous bends in his nose, one of which I claimed credit for. A caterpillar had taken up residence under his nostrils, which were as big as gunports. Fourteen-karat gold buttons gleamed on his mahogany double-breasted Armani. He looked like a tall chest of drawers. "It's Benito," he said.
"Benito like in Mussolini? I didn't know you were Italian."
"Benito like in Juarez. I'm Chicano."
"You were Colombian back when you smuggled cocaine aboard the old mayor's jet. You must have more passports than a soccer team."
"What you doing here?"
"Working, same as you. And for the same person. She's chilling me a bottle of Tecate right now." I showed him my pass. It contained no words, just a holographic image of Genesius, patron saint of theatrical performers. He looked at it, crossed himself out of habit, and reached behind his back to rap the door.
"Qui'n es?" A smooth contralto, deadened slightly by the panels.
"Benito, seorita. Es un visitador."
"Right on time. Hokay."
He worked the doorknob, again without turning. I had to walk around him to get through. On the way, he leaned down and called me a son of a whore in border Spanish. I grinned and patted his big face. It was like slapping a truck tire. His hand jerked toward his left underarm, also out of habit. He remembered where he was and let it drop.