Exacting Justice. Book 1 of the De La Cruz Case Files. Now Available in trade paperback and e-book from Down & Out Books.  Down&OutBooks/Exacting_Justice

Exclusively carried by these excellent independent bookstores:

  • Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore | 7419 Madison St | Forest Park IL |
  • Mac's Backs | 1820 Coventry Road | Cleveland Hts OH |
  • The Next Page Bookstore | 208 W Monroe St | Decatur IN |

Also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, iTunes, Kobo, and Play

An unknown killer is waging a war on drugs. The murders are horrendous
but with a silver lining—now stop signs are the only objects lingering on
corners in the city’s toughest neighborhoods. Half the city calls for the
police to end the killer’s reign. The other half cheers the killer on,
denouncing the tactics but celebrating the progress police haven’t been able to

The gritty details of Cleveland’s drug underworld are nothing new to
Homicide Detective Jesus De La Cruz. Two years earlier, Cruz worked undercover
narcotics and was poised for a promotion that would have placed him in a
coveted position within the drug organization. The deal went bad. Now he has a
new face, a new job, and a new case.

The killer moves through the streets with impunity, identity still
unknown. Demands for progress from his superiors, accumulated grief of the
victim’s relatives, growing pressure from the public, and elevated stress from
his family quietly pull Cruz apart. With no out, the detective moves all in,
putting his own head on the line to bait a killer.


Discussion Questions

Exacting Justice incorporates theme and topics that can serve as discussion points for book clubs or individual reflection. Below are a few that I wrestled with in writing Cruz's first case file.

  1. Many of the victims who have turned to a life influenced by drugs are loved by their families. What circumstances lead people away from paths of being stable members of society? What role should society play to helping people at risk?
  2. Dr. Oscar Bollier comments to Cruz that his problem would be different if it were school teachers being targeted. How would this story have changed if the victims were teachers, nurses, fire fighters, or any other such group? Should their be a difference in the response?
  3. Police officers constantly put themselves at risk to keep the peace but they themselves are only human. Yet we are often held at arms length from the human side of officers, seeing them a stoic, rigid, and even "scary". Is this a result of needing to be prepared for lawsuit, an above-the-every man mentality, or a distorted view perpetuated by media coverage? What is the affect of the effectiveness of law enforcement?
  4. No person is all good, just as no person is all bad. Yet when we learn about crimes committed, people are often tagged with the simple label of "bad guy". Why do we tend to label people for a single trait? What are the negative impacts of such a simplistic view? Does social media exasperate the view or help to show multidimensionality?



Widow's Run. Diamond Mystery #1. Coming Nov 11, 2019, available for pre-order in trade paperback and e-book from Down & Out, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

        "A competent, fast-paced series launch..." Publishers Weekly
        "For crime-fiction fans who like it action-packed and hard-edged" David               Housewright, Edgar Award-winning author of Dead Man's Mistress

One night in Rome. One car. One dead scientist. Italian police investigate, but in the end, all they have are kind words for the new widow. Months later, a video emerges challenging the facts. Had he stepped into traffic, or was he pushed? The widow returns to the police, where there are more kind words but no answers. Exit the widow.

Enter Diamond. One name for a woman with one purpose. Resurrecting her CIA cover, she follows the shaky video down the rabbit hole. Her widow’s run unearths a plethora of suspects:  the small-time crook, the mule-loving rancher, the lady in waiting, the Russian bookseller, the soon-to-be priest. Following the stink greed leaves in its wake reveals big lies and ugly truths. Murder is filthy business.

Good thing Diamond likes playing dirty.