Alisa Lynn Valdés
Thomas & Mercer
Like famed Rudolfo Anaya, author of Bless Me Ultima, known as the “godfather of Chicano literature,” and who also developed the “Sonny Baca mysteries,” Alisa Lynn Valdés, recognized as “godmother of Chica Lit,” has debuted her first thriller in the series, Hollow Beasts. Both Anaya’s and Valdés’ families go back generations in New Mexico.
Valdés introduces Jodi Luna, 45, who leaves her poetry-professor post in Boston after her husband’s fatal rock climbing accident. She returns to New Mexico with teenage daughter, Mila, and then trains to become a game garden with policing authority.
Valdés is prepared to launch readers on a series fast track …
On Luna’s first solo workday, she responds to a call from two campers who have found a dismembered hand near a remote hot springs. The hand is branded with a circle around a pyramid, the logo of Zebulon Boys, a white supremacist group advertising on social media for recruits.
The tension heightens when Mila is kidnapped, and then, another severed limb of a young girl is found. Jodi, using her new learned skills, begins to search for the camp where she believes the Zebulon Boys are holding her daughter captive, and perhaps other girls. Her backup is a new deputy from the sheriff’s department, Ashley Romero, who has also returned to New Mexico to care for her father.
Valdés blends into the narrative the complexity of New Mexico’s history, politics and diversity. While at her camp stakeout, she’s surprised by the appearance of well-known political officials and representatives of the oil and gas industry night-searching for endangered wolves. She realizes that they are “…very powerful, very unethical people who were apparently running the state at the moment,” but gives them a pass as her priority is finding her daughter.
But let’s not forget romantic intrigue, and Valdés “chic lit” that kicks into the drama. And certainly, it means any upcoming novels in the series will be sizzling. The ground has been laid: Both Romero and Luna are already attracting attention from newly hired Dr. Henley Bethel, a wildlife veterinarian and expert on wolves, Kurt Chinana, president of the Muelles Apache Nation, soon to be divorced, and widowed ranch-hand Lynn Daggett.
Valdés is prepared to launch readers on a series fast track with two powerful women who no doubt will solve future crimes mixed with romance, more insight to New Mexico’s past and current and enough action to keep you asking for more.