The Return of Lupe Solano

by Philip K. Jason              Special to Florida Weekly

“Bloody Twist,” by Carolina Garcia-Aguilera. Miramar. 270 pages. $12.95 (and specially priced at only $2.99 for Kindle edition).

I have missed Lupe Solano, Ms. Garcia-Aguilera’s frank and flirtatious Cuban-American private investigator. After an eight year absence, this delightful and distinctive series resumes with “Bloody Twist,” once again taking us through the Miami and Miami Beach neighborhoods that the author portrays with affectionate good humor. Lupe is simultaneously a pleasure-loving young lady and a dedicated professional. Always ready for another Cuban meal and another toss in the sheets with a lover, she nevertheless takes her business seriously, and she is good at it. 

Or she was. Lupe Solano, seriously wounded on her last case two years back (“Bitter Sugar”), harbors doubts about whether or not she has recovered sufficiently to be on top of her game. At the close of a surveillance episode, the author has Lupe insist: “Although I was a bit rusty, I’d never really forgotten how to do it.” The rust shows, and there is a bit of rust, too, spotting this author’s usual polish. However, the qualities that have engaged readers of this series in the past are still there – and in great abundance.

In this story, Lupe is hired by her frequent employer, defense attorney and Lupe-lover Tommy MacDonald, to help build the case that will exonerate his client, a gorgeous and seemingly sweet specialty call girl named Madeline Marie Meadows. Her specialty? Managing to charge $5,000 a visit while remaining an authenticated virgin! Is this outlandish? Of course. Can Ms. Garcia-Aguilera make us believe it? Well, even Lupe is skeptical, though she understands that the competitive male ego includes plenty of wealthy gentlemen who would like to earn the reputation and the prize of changing Madeline’s status. 

Madeline is about to be charged with multiple murders when she asks Tommy to take her case. The police have discovered that a gun bearing Madeline’s fingerprints has been used in several murders, and each victim has some relationship with Madeline. One is a man whom she was supposed to marry, but there was a falling out. Another is a prominent client named Robinson. Another is Dr. Steinberg, her gynecologist – the person who authenticates Madeline’s virgin status once a week.

To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the October 27-November 2, 2010 edition of the Fort Myers Florida Weekly, click here: Florida Weekly – Carolina Garcia-Aguilera. For pdf of Naples Florida Weekly for October 28-November 3, click here: Florida Weekly – Carolina Garcia-Aguilera pdf

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