On Hallowed Ground
A Willie Cuesta Mystery by John Lantigua
Review: When the widow of a wealthy industrialist hires Miami private investigator Willie Cuesta to protect her son from a potential kidnapping — a crime that claimed the life of her husband in their native Columbia — he doesn't realize how challenging that assignment will ultimately be in On Hallowed Ground, the fourth mystery in this series by John Lantigua.
Doña Carmen is concerned that her son José may be a target just like his father, but he scoffs at the notion. No one from Columbia would kidnap someone on American soil. Still, José agrees to allow Willie to accompany him and his girlfriend Catalina around on visits to the spa, the golf course, and various restaurants. Willie begins to think that he's not earning the generous salary they're paying him. Then their worst fears are realized — but not in the manner expected — when Catalina, not José, is taken at gunpoint from a street on Key Biscayne. The kidnappers get away, and it isn't long before a ransom demand it made. Though Catalina is not family, Doña Carmen learns that Catalina is 3 months pregnant with her grandchild, and agrees to pay it. Then, somewhat inexplicably, Willie is contacted by the leader of a drug cartel … and is quickly drawn into a very risky loop involving family, business, and revenge.
On Hallowed Ground sets a brisk pace from the start, and forces Willie — and the reader — to almost immediately question whether Catalina was an accidental victim in a kidnapping attempt on José, or was she the intended target all along. She seems to be the key to the crime, yet Willie has a hard time reconciling the facts surrounding the kidnapping — and his subsequent meetings with the drug cartel — with his observation that both Catalina and José seem genuinely in love and that neither would knowingly do anything to grieve Doña Carmen. It is this aspect of the story that both drives the plot and keeps readers interested in its outcome. Most of the action takes place in and around Miami, a setting in which the author credibly and vividly incorporates details that enhance the storyline, though there is also a quick trip for Willie to Columbia to fill in some of the backstory. On Hallowed Ground
Acknowledgment: Arte Público Press provided a copy of On Hallowed Ground for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Lady from Buenos Aires
Arte Público Press (Hardcover), March 2007
ISBN-13: 9781558854963; ISBN-10: 1558854967
Location(s) referenced in On Hallowed Ground: Miami, Florida, Columbia
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On Hallowed Ground by John Lantigua — A Willie Cuesta Mystery
Publisher: Arte Público Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: March 2011
List Price: $16.95