Mercedes Wore Black by Andrea Brunais
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Andrea Brunais has jumped into the realm of Florida-based mysteries with a well-written, finely-plotted addition to the subgenre. Along with Randy Wayne White, Carl Hiaasen and John MacDonald, Brunais has her own cast of quirky Florida characters, environmental issues and a mystery what leaves the reader wondering what is going to happen until the very end.
Janis Pearl Hawk, newly fired from her job on a central Florida newspaper, needs work. When a friend offers her a chance to write a blog covering everything from local politics to corruption to environmental issues, she leaps on the opportunity. She meets with her friend, Mercedes of the title, who tells her all about the candidate for governor she works for.
Enter the potential hunky maybe love interest in the guise of the gubernatorial candidate. When he offers her a job on his staff, she faces an ethical dilemma: should she give up her new-found freedom to pursue corruption or work for the man who shares much of her worldview.
Tallahassee politicos, sleazy political influencers, a gay best friend and fellow journalist, several committed ecologists who are too afraid of the special interest groups provide a cast of characters that keep the reader turning pages until the grand reveal at the end. One can only hope that this is the first in a series of great Florida mysteries, this time with a female sleuth.