In the War Zone of the Heart: Willie Cuesta Mystery Stories


John Lantigua’s first mystery novel was a finalist for the Edgar Awards Best First Novel.

by John Lantigua

ISBN:  978-1-55885-950-0
Publication Date:  September 30, 2022
Format:  Trade Paperback
Pages:  264

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In the title story of this collection, detective Willie Cuesta is on a stakeout in a singles bar, tracking an errant husband, when he gets a call about a potential case. The next day, he meets Isabel Guevara, who is originally from Nicaragua. Her twin sons fought on opposite sides of that country’s civil war; one in the army, the other with the contra rebels. They both survived, but their feud didn’t end with the conflict. And now, word has it that the one who remained behind is on his way to Miami to kill his brother! Willie has no idea how he will prevent a bloody confrontation, but he agrees to try.

This collection of twelve stories featuring private investigator Willie Cuesta illuminates the histories and issues of the numerous Latin American communities that call Miami home—and how the past continues to haunt them. There’s a family concerned that their mother’s new fiancé isn’t the former Cuban political prisoner and hero he claims to be; a heavily tattooed Salvadoran gang member in hiding from the vicious former colleagues hunting him; a beautiful Haitian woman being stalked by a killer who uses voodoo to stoke her nightmares; and a wealthy American who made his fortune in Guatemala on the backs of its people and is now receiving death threats from his victims!

The impact of civil war, revolution, corruption and criminal violence crash ashore in these stories set in South Florida. Whether Willie is doing surveillance in salsa clubs, interviewing clients over cafecitos in Little Havana or on a fishing boat in the Gulf, his attempts to find justice for clients are always enlightening and exciting. An Edgar Award finalist and Shamus Award nominee, John Lantigua served as a foreign correspondent in Latin America, and his investigator, a former Miami Police Department detective, appears in a series of stand-alone novels.