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Like James Grippando’s When Darkness Falls (2006), Lantigua’s latest Willie Cuesta mystery focuses on Argentina’s “dirty war,” during which thousands of dissidents vanished or were murdered between the mid-1970s and the early 1980s. Here the Miami private eye is hired by Fiona Bonaventura to find her dead sister’s missing daughter. Assuming there is a daughter, that is: Fiona’s sister disappeared more than 20 years ago, in Argentina, and there is no hard evidence she ever had a child, apart from Fiona’s unshakable belief that she has tracked the girl to Miami. Cuesta, introduced in 1999’s Player’s Vendetta, is a noirish kind of chap, and the novel is appropriately atmospheric, with a large cast of villainous types and a beautiful client who may not be entirely what she seems. Readers familiar with the Cuesta series will note that, with this novel, the author is tackling a theme of greater sociohistorical importance than previously; but even though the story centers on a politically volatile period in recent history, Lantigua never forgets he’s writing a mystery, not a polemic. David Pitt
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Review

The Lady from Buenos Aires is an extraordinary story that compels interest throughout. The historical background adds credibility to the plot which itself is relentless. It is an exciting, frequently scary, ride that Lantigua takes the reader on as Cuesta pursues his investigation. Reading this excellent mystery is time well spent.” — Mystery-Books.com

“Ex-Miami cop-turned-private investigator Willie Cuesta (Heat Lightning) is hired to find the daughter of two political dissidents killed by the Argentine military government 20 years ago. Elena is now 19 and does not know that her aunt is looking for her or that the man she thought was her father had been involved in her parents’ murder. Nonstop action and an exciting ending make this a good crime novel. In addition, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lantigua’s use of Argentina’s tragic recent history as the basis for his plot adds depth, and his insider knowledge of Miami’s Latin American subculture provides spice.” — Library Journal, March 1, 2007

Politics have always had a place in mysteries, from Dashiell Hammett’s expose of corrupt government in The Glass Key to Mickey Spillane’s defiant anti-Communism subtext. More recently, mystery authors have used Argentina’s military dictatorship and the disappearance of thousands of citizens as backdrops for engrossing tales.
South Florida author John Lantigua uses the same Argentine “dirty war,” but his skillful approach, his energetic plotting and his talent for shaping characters make The Lady From Buenos Aires a fresh and original entry. The rather inane title The Lady From Buenos Airesdoesn’t do justice to this exciting story.

OK, so Miami detective Willie Cuesta is visited by a lady from Buenos Aires, the cool, wealthy Fiona Bonaventura who has come to South Florida seeking what she believes is her niece. More than 20 years ago, Fiona’s nine-months’ pregnant sister was among Argentina’s “disappeared” – the young woman and her husband had been vocal opponents of the regime. As happened with many pregnant prisoners, the women gave birth to children who were given to childless military families; the mothers were murdered mere hours after delivery. Fiona has searched for years for the child and a tip from a friend has brought her to Miami.

Lantigua gets to the heart of South Florida as Willie’s investigation takes him from the heart of wealthy neighborhoods to seedy bars, from tango lessons in a strip mall to a dank, dark hall of tango dancers, from Calle Oche to Haitian communities.

The author packs in a solid story that moves briskly. Along the way, Lantigua peppers the story with South Florida tidbits – ranging from DNA labs thriving in the Haitian community to the vast number of Latin refugees. “Identities and destinies were very fluid in Miami,” the detective says. And Lantigua’s insightful view of the tango will make you see several sides to this famous dance.

Lantigua doesn’t just tap into Argentine history, he brings a new awareness to it in The Lady From Buenos Aires. –Oline H. CogdillFort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Broward Metro Edition, July 8, 2007

“…Lantigua delivers snappy prose and well-informed background. The atmosphere is rich with Miami’s vibrant Hispanic culture and murky politics. A darkly literate thriller.” —The Portsmouth Herald

“It is an exciting, frequently scary, ride that Lantigua takes the reader on…Reading this excellent mystery is time well spent.” —Mysterious Reviews

“A thrilling novel of betrayal, layered plots and horrific secrets.” —The Midwest Book Review

“This is a thought-provoking book… Lantigua keeps most of his characters in check and then wraps up all loose ends quite neatly…” —MultiCultural Review

“John Lantigua’s mystery thriller deals with people from Argentina, the land of the tango and, more relevantly, a ‘dirty war’ in the late 1960s and early 70s during which the military picked up civilians and made them ‘disappear.'” —PalmBeachPost.com