Title: Lost in the Light (The Dori Orihuela Series)
Author: Mary Castillo
No one remembers…
One October morning in 1932, Vicente Sorolla entered the white house on the hill and was never seen again .
Now, Detective Dori Orihuela helplessly witnesses his brutal murder in her nightmares.
Settling into a 120 year-old Edwardian mansion, Dori restores her dream home while recovering from a bullet wound and waiting to go back on duty.
But then one afternoon, Vicente materializes out of her butler’s pantry and asks her to find a woman named Anna. Dori wonders if she’s not only about to lose her badge, but also her sanity.
Dori and Vicente’s unlikely friendship takes us back to the waning days of Prohibition in San Diego and the dusty barrio of National City. Mary Castillo’s new novel, featuring the wild Orihuela family that first delighted readers in Names I Call My Sister, weaves romance, history and a mystery into a humorous, touching and unforgettable story.
Idly wondering what to pick from the meals Grammy had prepared for her, Dori plugged her key into the lock. Her heart gave a painful jolt when she looked up into the face of a man. He stared at her from the other side of the wavy glass window of the Dutch door.
His dark eyes narrowed. In one motion, Dori dropped her bag, stepped back and reached for her weapon. But she only felt the bandage under her shirt where her Smith and Wesson should’ve been. She swayed in momentary confusion and then remembered she’d locked it away. When she looked back up into the window, he was gone.
Dori stood there with her pulse kicking against her neck. He couldn’t duck faster than the blink of an eye, nor was the window shade moving in the wake of a sudden movement. It hadn’t been that long since she’d been with a man that she’d start making one up as Grammy had repeatedly warned. Warning pricked at her nerves. She pulled up alongside the edge of the door and peeked into her dark kitchen. She strained her ears, listening for movement in the house. Against her better judgment, she reached over and turned the key.
She pushed the door open and the smell of cologne stopped her short of walking inside. Dori instinctively rocked her weight onto the balls of her feet, her muscles tensing for a fight. Night crept across the yard behind her.
As a cop, she’d been in much scarier situations than this. But back then, Dori had a gun at her hip and a radio for back-up. Unlike real bad guys, figments of her imagination couldn’t send her to the hospital. Dori told herself to go out to her car and call the cavalry.
Instead, Dori propped the door open with an old brick. This was her house damn it and it might feel good to kick some ass.
Dori made her way through the gloomy kitchen and flipped on the light switch. The fluorescents flickered to life and their hum filled the silence. She crossed the kitchen and then poked her head through the door leading into the butler’s pantry. The air held still, as if the house held its breath.
She crept across the floor, scanned the dining room and then reached in to turn on the dining room chandelier, which thankfully had survived the architectural rape and pillage of the 1970s. His shadow moved across the wall in the hallway. Fear shot up her spine.
“I’m armed,” she called out, backing into the kitchen for a knife. Her Mossberg was upstairs in the safe. Then she remembered the knives were still packed in a box. She had a spork from her and Grammy’s KFC lunch earlier today.
“Walk out the front door and you won’t get hurt,” she ordered, clutching the spork in her hand as she tiptoed back to the dining room. Her voice echoed.
She pressed the light button and the hall lights switched on. “Go out the front door.”
The hall was clear. With her back pressed to the wall, Dori held her breath as she waited for an answer or a creak of a floorboard that would give away his position. She should go for the Mossberg. But she peeked into the front parlor, the room that had suffered the most damage in the house. Something slammed against the front door and the lights snapped off.
I will try to be coherent while I write this review. I love mysteries. I love ghosts connecting to people to try to find their killer, to get peace, to fulfill a wish, etc. I even love dead-girl-or-boy-and-very-alive-girl-or-boy-falls-in-love stories. And most of all, I love old mansions that can carry so many secrets (even a ghost!). So a detective buying an old mansion, meets a ghost and helps him, forms a friendship with him is a definite check in my book. Tons of checks, I might add. And checks it delivered.
Mary Castillo has written such a rich and compelling novel that I doubt that I won’t like it if I’m not a fan of the plot. I was pretty much glued to this book and I am so happy to have joined the blog tour for this for the chance to read and review this book. Nancy Drew is my personal hero when I was a kid so I pretty much look up to girl detectives. To say I was behind Dori the whole way is an understatement. I love her!
We’re given scenes from both the present and the past and the narrative reveals to us Vicente’s story bits by bits, which is both good for the pace and to get me going. Both timelines were wonderful and I wasn’t grumbling when I was reading about the other. That says something because a lot of books just makes me want to read everything about the past or everything about the future. The novel wasn’t draggy and it was just plain great the whole time.
Anyway, thumbs up for this novel! Now I wanna buy my own old mansion too! Minus the ghost please!
About Mary Castillo
Mary Castillo can remember the exact moment when her destiny to write smart, sexy stories for women began. (And no, it was not the day this photo was taken!) Her Grandma Margie gave her a copy of Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor (banned in 14 states and then when it was made into a movie starring Linda Darnell, condemned by the Hays Office, which controlled decency in movies) and said, “If you have any questions about what they’re doing in that book, just ask me!”
While Forever Amber is hardly a book for a high school freshman (frankly the heroine makes Scarlett a model of propriety and modesty in comparison), Mary was fascinated by a character that seized life with no apologies … and looked doing it.
After a few minor distractions (poor dating choices and pre-med studies), Mary committed herself to writing on February 10, 1994 and then sold her debut to Harper Collins Avon A in 2004. Hot Tamara was selected by Cosmopolitan magazine as the Red Hot Read of April 2005. The book wasn’t banned but Grandma was proud!
A lifelong professional writer, including a stint as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times Community News (second best job in the world), Mary is the proud author of three novels (Switchcraft, In Between Men and Hot Tamara) and three novellas featured in the anthologies, Orange County Noir, Names I Call My Sister andFriday Night Chicas. Her latest book, a paranormal that goes back and forth between modern day and Prohibition, Lost in the Light is now available.
Latina magazine called Mary “an author to look out for” and selected In Between Men and Names I Call My Sister for the Top 10 Summers Reads in July 2009. OC Metro magazine named Mary one of the hottest 25 people in the O.C. (the first but certainly not the last time her hotness has been publicly confirmed). She has also been profiled in Orange County Register, Coast, The Arizona Republic and San Diego Union Tribune.
Mary grew up in a haunted house in National City, CA. She cries every time she sees the movies, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Casablanca, and feels that Joan Collins is by far the preeminent TV villain (which is why Joan plays such an pivotal role in the novel, In Between Men).
A graduate of USC, Mary lives in The O.C. with her family.
Also, she may have a mild addiction to Pinterest.
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