Crime writer Mar Preston tagged me to blog tour, highlighting my main character, Manuel “Manny” Aguilar. Mar can be found at marpreston.com. She writes realistic, topical, procedurals featuring Dave Mason, a Santa Monica police detective. Mar is the author of four crime novels (so far): No Dice, Rip-off, Payback, and On Behalf of the Family.
Manuel “Manny” Aguilar makes a second appearance in The Devil on Eighty-five, having debuted as the detective hero of Devil’s Kitchen, a border noir first published in 2011. Author Priscilla Barton describes Manny better than I can: “P.I. Manny Aguilar is someone to root for: genuine, manly, feminist, and flawed in all the right ways.”
Manny’s been a private investigator ever since he got fired from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department for being in too many gun fights. He never swears in the presence of the dead, even if he’s killed them himself. Manny’s a Mexican-American, a Latino, a Tucson High graduate who played football and then joined the sheriff’s department.
Manny lives in the Sonoran Desert, the place where they have those Saguaro cacti that look like people—the place where the roadrunner and the coyote come from—but the Sonoran Desert is no cartoon; it is one of the harshest natural environments on earth, and there are people on this desert who are decent and ordinary, and there are others who are not, and the flaming black engine that drives the pervasive evil present here is a phenomenon called The Drug Wars, a multibillion dollar a year industry perpetuated by the failure of the United States government, and many of its citizens, to take the money out of drugs.
One day, Manny Aguilar’s boss, Jeff Goldman, a smartass criminal defense attorney, sends him out to the Tohono O’Odham Nation, an Indian reservation the size of Connecticut, to help defend an Indian cowboy accused of murdering his own wife. Manny picks up a trail leading out the west end of the reservation to a two-lane blacktop called State Route 85. Manny will risk his freedom, his life, and his relationship with the woman he loves chasing the devil on highway 85. The Devil on Eighty-five is available on Amazon in trade paperback and Kindle editions.