Ray Cruz is a killer. When his daughter is attacked, he’ll do anything and spill anyone’s blood to protect her.
Elena Maldonado struggles to reach her father's home after she's been beaten brutally by the henchman of a local businessman, Robert Meister. At one time, Elena's father, Ray Cruz, worked as hired muscle himself, but he thought he'd left that life behind. When Elena knocks at his door, a wreck and unwilling to explain, his instincts kick in – the instinct to protect his family and wreak vengeance on whoever was behind the brutal message his daughter seems to have understood all too clearly – stay quiet, do as we say or worse will happen and no one you love will be safe.
A trip to the hospital attracts the attention of the police and Detective Jack Carver. Carver warns Ray to let the police handle the case, but Ray is not the type to let this attack go unpunished. It doesn’t take long, however, before the FBI gets involved telling Ray that Elena is working with them. None of this stops Ray from asking his questions, bribing some, intimidating others and beating the hardest cases. Soon, he finds the henchmen, but they know very little about who hired them and nothing about why. Ray makes them pay for their ignorance and their brutality. Detective Carver and FBI agent Ramona Esposito warn Ray against taking things into his own hands not knowing how far Ray has already gone or is willing to go.
FLAME TREE PRESS is the imprint of long-standing Independent Flame Tree Publishing, dedicated to full-length original fiction in the horror and suspense, science fiction & fantasy, and crime / mystery / thriller categories. The list brings together fantastic new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
Derringer Award winning author Steven Torres was born and raised in the Bronx in New York City. His first novel, Precinct Puerto Rico came out in 2002 to starred reviews. His work has been published in Mystery Scene Magazine, The New York Times and Bronx Noir. He lives with his family in Connecticut.
"The novel was one of the best books I have read in while and another 5-star read this year. I was immediately immersed in the world that Torres creates in the book and never wanted to put it down."
– A Reviewer Darkly
"A real powerhouse of a piece drenched in mood and a mean-spirited noir attitude."
– Considering Stories
"Fiendishly plotted with enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, blessed with a terrific cast of roguish and heartless characters and crisply written, this magnificent and terrifying thriller should definitely find the faithful readership it rightly deserves."
– Jean Luc Estrella, Librarian
"Deeply disturbing but also enormously enjoyable, this is my first Ray Cruz novel and I anticipate reading others in the future."
– Rachel Read It
"A compelling thriller, an unorthodox investigation into a mystery with a satisfying solution, and an authentic noir-ish ending in which everyone who is guilty gets their just reward. It’s a hardboiled world and Ray Cruz lives in it."