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Four moon gifHarper Collins (Hardcover), ISBN 038097780X
If her mother could see Lupe Solano now, she might jump out of her grave and give Lupe a big abrazo (hug). A Cuban-born Miami private investigator with a penchant for getting involved in complex cases, Lupe's reputation continues to grow within her community. Her most recent accomplishments, restoring family artwork to their rightful owners, further endear her to Cuban expatriates and their families.

Book: Carolina Garcia-Aguilera Havana HeatThese works, stolen by Fidel Castro and his minions in the 1960s, and later sold to aid the impoverished Cuban government, keep turning up in wealthy homes. Lupe seems to possess a knack for arranging for the works' return to the original families. But when the aging Lucia Miranda, an overbearing tia (aunt) from one of Miami's most influential Cuban families, wants to hire Lupe to rescue the legendary Eight Unicorn Tapestry from a secret vault in the Miranda family home, Lupe must make some tough decisions.

Although the money involved and the historical significance of the tapestry prove very tempting, the job requires Lupe to go to Havana in secret, something not easy under normal circumstances. In this case, the requirement appears nearly impossible, considering the fact that Lupe needs to smuggle the tapestry out of Cuba without getting caught. When one of her art contacts turns up dead, Lupe knows that the Miranda's big payoff may involve some unforeseen glitches. When yet another body surfaces, Lupe begins to investigate the connections, knowing full well that her life may also be in danger.

Book: Carolina Garcia-Aquilers, A Miricle in ParadiseHavana Heat, the fifth in the Lupe Solano series, continues the tradition of excellence begun in Garcia-Aguilera's introduction to the feisty, classy P.I., Bloody Waters. Drawing on her own background in the field, Garcia-Aguilera depicts an intelligent, sharp and sexy female private investigator who doesn't fall prey to the tired clichés of the genre. Smart, well-educated and well-off, Lupe runs her business, keeps her relationships with her family intact and manages an interesting love life at the same time. A successful private investigator with friends in both high and low places, Lupe Solano succeeds as a believable character -- one you could meet walking along the manicured streets of Coconut Grove or dancing in the clubs of Miami's South Beach.

In Havana Heat, Garcia-Aguilera delivers a tight, intricately woven tale with plenty of dead bodies, complex storylines and great characters. Also enmeshed in the story is the ever-present theme of expatriated Cuban-Americans longing for their Cuban homeland. Garcia-Aguilera merges the reality with the fiction with a golden touch, echoing the sentiments of the real community with the complexities of Lupe's life and family, while still creating an entertaining mystery novel.

Maria Y. Lima

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