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Hat Dance (Detective Emilia Cruz Book 2)

Hat Dance (Detective Emilia Cruz Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Carmen Amato
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Emilia Cruz, Acapulco’s first and only female police detective, will risk a dance with the devil to catch an arsonist and find a missing girl. But the music comes with a price no honest cop can afford to pay.

Dining by coincidence at the same restaurant as Acapulco’s popular mayor, Emilia’s evening out with hotel manager Kurt Rucker is cut short by an explosive fire that kills half of the mayor’s security detail. Emilia is assigned to investigate what quickly is dubbed an assassination attempt on the politician.

Frightened by the fire and the raw emotion it has sparked not only inside herself but across the city, Emilia isn’t helped by the men in her life. Her boss is more concerned with his own demons than hers, a new partner comes with a bad attitude, and Kurt Rucker could leave Acapulco for a lucrative new job in Belize.

When the involvement of the Mexican Army seems likely and would-be vigilantes post threatening videos on YouTube, Acapulco erupts with a wave of violent demonstrations. But even as pressure mounts for a fast arrest, Emilia remains bound by a promise to look for a girl who has disappeared from her own neighborhood. It doesn't take long before Emilia uncovers some nasty family secrets and turns to the city’s most notorious hooker for answers, only to end up on the wrong side of a dirty Vice cop.

As fires, death threats, and the fallout from hasty decisions circle around her, Emilia will doubt both her skills as a detective and ability to survive amid the sharks. She’ll start making deals for access and information, but the one she makes with the devil could be her last.

HAT DANCE is the second book in the Emilia Cruz mystery series. It follows CLIFF DIVER, the novel that Kirkus Reviews called “Consistently exciting . . . A clever Mexican detective tale that will leave readers eager for the series’ next installment.”

The Emilia Cruz mystery series is as raw and action-filled as the headlines coming out of Mexico today, but just like the country, Emilia is both resilient and warm-hearted. With hot nights on the beach and suspense straight out of the news, the series goes inside Mexico's drug war with a fearless style and a woman who will be hard to forget.

Detective Emilia Cruz is a good liar, a fast thinker, a determined investigator and a mean kickboxer. An Acapulco native forced to grow up too fast, she’s been a cop for nearly 12 years and a detective for two; a strong woman in a squadroom that didn’t want her and is still trying to break her. But Emilia isn’t afraid to defend herself and get what she’s rightfully earned. She knows that many women in Mexico don’t get the chances she’s had and the proof is in a log she tracks of women who have gone missing.

But she doesn’t know how to handle gringo Kurt Rucker, the manager of a luxury hotel in Acapulco. A former U.S. Marine, he has the confidence and leadership qualities she admires. A triathlete, he’s calm under pressure and knows what he wants. But does Emilia?

There’s the Acapulco that tourists know; luxury hi-rises, candlelit nights on the beach, the sweep of the most beautiful bay in the world, the majesty of the clear blue Pacific. There’s also the Acapulco that is a prize to be fought over by drug cartels--the city that is home to hookers and thieves, the streets where life is cheap and poverty is as pervasive as the wind off the ocean. Both of these versions of Acapulco claw at the each other and force Emilia to survive between them. No investigation will be easy, no crime will be simple.

Grab a margarita and come on down to Acapulco . . . If you can take the heat.

About the Author

Carmen Amato is the author of political thriller THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY and the EMILIA CRUZ mystery series set in Acapulco. Both draw on her experiences living in Mexico and Central America. A cultural observer and occasional nomad, she currently divides her time between the United States and Central America. Visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @CarmenConnects.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1704 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: KDP Select (19 Aug 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EO5DCT8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #329,341 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Carmen Amato was born in New York and educated there as well as Virginia and Paris, France. Her family tree includes a mayor, a Mensa genius, and the first homicide in the state of Connecticut with an automatic weapon. The perpetrator, her great-grandfather, eluded a state-wide manhunt after killing two people-one of whom was his wife-and was never brought to justice.

She is the author of political thriller THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY and the Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco. Both draw on her experiences living in Mexico and Central America. Her blog series GIRL MEETS PARIS captured her adventures while a student in the City of Light. She currently divides her time between the United States and Central America.

Visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @CarmenConnects.

Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cruz is one detective not to miss! 18 Oct 2013
By Billy J. Hobbs VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
It was with some curiosity that I began "Hat Dance." That curiosity soon turned to eagerness to complete it--which I did relatively soon!

Carmen Amato herself seems to personify this enthusiasm which she cleverly and clearly extends to Emilia Cruz, her erstwhile, clever, insightful Alcapulco detective.

Meeting Ms Cruz has become a literary pleasure, so much so that I am now going to find her first "case" ("Cliff Diver") and get to know her even better. That said, I do not feel that I missed any of the plot narrative by not having read the first book. Author Amato, it seems, made it evident that first time readers would have no difficulty with the story line.

The back cover reads: "Acapulco detective Emilia Cruz will risk a dance with the devil to catch a violent arsonist and find a missing girl. But the music comes with a price no honest cop can afford." Indeed, poetic.

In addition, Ms Amato doesn't steer away from the "bad rap" that Mexico and its problems with drug cartels and lords or other criminal pastimes; instead, she takes that as a given and moves on.

A female detective in Alcapulco does seem a bit anachronistic--but only at first. Emilia's bonafides work well and this reader had no problem with the realism that the author projects. The fast-paced, easy to follow writing style is a plus, too!

As the investigations into the fire and the missing girl continues, readers will find themselves caught up in the pace, the intensity, the dedication to the job as Emilia, eventually, proves she's more than ready for this assignment. This reader is now looking for more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Realistic Crime story 16 April 2014
By Bill
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a really good crime thriller. It captured my interest within a few pages and then I couldn't put it down! The main character is Emilia Cruz - a female police detective and we meet a wide range of other characters from bent cops to hookers, politicians and soldiers, all of whom are very well described.
The plot is good and we have a combination of a bombing campaign and a search for a missing girl, which keeps the story moving at a fast pace. The story is set in Mexico and the author brought the local culture vividly to life, which for me was the outstanding attraction of the book. Without being heavy handed in her writing, the author illustrates many of the challenges of being an honest and committed female police detective in Mexico. The author also highlights the problems the country faces with bribary, corruption, drugs and the role of the army.
I really enjoyed the main characters and look forward to reading the other books in the series. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good crime story with the added bonus of it revealing an insight to life in Mexico.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Dance with the Devil in Mexico 31 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a well-worth read. The protagonist, Emilia Cruz, is a tough detective from a poor background with relationship issues with boyfriend, Kurt, rather than the usual drink problem. It is set in Acapulco where the mayhem commences. The story centres on the hunt for a missing girl, Lila. It's all here, corrupt Mexican police, drug gangs, shadowy military, and an assortment of dubious sub-characters. But Emilia is up to the challenge, utilizing both her intellect and her physical courage. She's a complicated, multi-dimensional character, and the author doesn't hold back from getting inside her head and exposing the positives and negatives. But don't be fooled. This isn't the work of a head shrink. The plot is intricate, and has more twists and turns than a F1 racetrack. There is a lot of use of Mexican slang/colloquialisms which is a little hard on the eyes at times, but the dance with the devil, to which the title alludes, is well-written and the characters authentic and memorable. But for me the city itself was the main character. I could literally smell it times. Saying that, I did feel a little swamped by the unrelenting flaws of the cast at times, and the book could have done with some more humour. Read it. Enjoy it. Four stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific mystery. 15 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Unfortunately I haven't read the first book in this exciting series set in Mexico, but it didn't matter as this is a standalone thriller of epic proportions. I am going to read the first book though if only to find out what happened to Rico.

Emilia Cruz is a kick ass cop with a complicated love life. The book is well balanced in that the romance part of the story doesn't distract the reader from the real crime in the slightest.

Emilia is on a date with her US boyfriend Kurt who has just asked her to decide to go with him or stay in her home town when a series of explosions takes place. Was the town's mayor the target as the body count rises?

In the many twists and turns in this stunning thriller the trail leads Emilia and her partner Silvio, the yin and yang of partnerships, up several unexpected pathways.

When Emilia is asked to find missing girl Lila it's her partner who comes up trumps in helping her solve the case.

A comprehensive cast of characters that makes this novel a compelling read.

A recommended read that has been beautifully crafted and executed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 14 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
An Emilia Cruz novel

Without any doubt, this new series will be a hit. "Hat Dance" follows "Cliff Diver" and continues the same exciting detective story that had me totally captivated from start to finish. The plotting is so realistic you would think the author has taken her inspiration right out of the news and pitted her protagonist against both Mexico's drug war and culture of machismo.

In this latest Emilia will deal with both an arson investigation as well as tracking down the whereabouts of a missing girl from her neighborhood.

This story opens with a wall of intrigue and suspense when high end restaurants are being targeted by arson. Who is behind these attempts is what makes this caper a thrilling ride through the pages, seeking the answer and not finding it till the very end is what makes it most exciting. Of course Emilia and her partner will pursuit their quest for the truth and justice will prevail......or will it.....This is one adrenaline charge novel with multiple unexpected twists that never slows down. "Hat Dance "is a riveting read populated with a strong cast of divers and interesting characters. Their involvement has snared my attention from the get go and I devoured every word,( ok I am pushing the envelope but I urge you to give this author a try and see how her creativity is not only unique it is also very addictive.)

This novel is as good and as entertaining as "Cliff Diver" but if you missed the first no worries, Ms. Amato has smoothly filled in the necessary background not to leave anyone behind.

Ms. Amato is becoming fast one of my favourite authors.
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