Living the Vida Lola by Misa Ramirez is the first book in the new Lola Cruz mystery series.  Publisher: Minotaur Books, January 2009

Meet Lola Cruz. After paying her dues as an intern, she’s now a full-fledged detective at Camacho and Associates. Her boss is Manny Camacho, a muy caliente former cop with a mysterious ex-wife, a Lara Croft look-alike girlfriend, and a sudden personal interest in Lola. Her first big case? A missing mother who may not want to be found. And to make her already busy life even more complicated, Lola’s helping her cousin plan her quinceañera, and battling her family and their old-fashioned views on women and careers. She’s also reunited with the gorgeous Jack Callaghan, her high school crush whom she shamelessly tailed years ago and photographed doing the horizontal salsa with some other lucky girl.

Lola takes it all in stride, but when the subject of her search ends up dead, she realizes she has a lot more to worry about. Soon she finds herself wrapped up in the possibly shady practices of a tattoo parlor, local politics, and someone with serious—maybe deadly—road rage. To top it all off, her treasured postcoital pictures of Jack are missing! Still, Lola is well-equipped to handle these challenges. She’s a black-belt in kung fu, and her body isn’t her only weapon. She’s got smarts, sass, and more tenacity than her Mexican mafioso-wannabe grandfather. A few of her famous margaritas don’t hurt, either.

Meet Dolores “Lola” Cruz, private investigator who got her calling when she was 14 years old spying on her first crush, Jack Callaghan.  Years later, the crush (lust) is still strong and she runs into him while on a case.  Emily Diggs’ son died of a heart infection and she blames the tattoo shop and has gone missing.  Later her body is found submerged in water, and Lola has the job of solving the murder.  Her investigation soon leads to threats and harm against her but nothing stops Lola from finding the clues that will lead to the murderer.  While all this is going on, Lola is helping her cousin with her quinceanera, setting her friend up with her brother and lusting after Jack.  I love the characters in this book from Lola, Jack, Antonio, Reilly and her relatives and how they interact with Lola’s occupation.  This was a fun and sexy read and I can’t wait for the next book in this series.  [4 stars – really liked it]

*new-to-me author

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