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Homicide detective Veranda Cruz takes on the most ruthless member of the Villalobos cartel in this fast-paced follow up to Phoenix Burning Phoenix homicide detective Veranda Cruz is on a mission. After Hector Villalobos tried to destroy her family, Veranda vowed to take down his powerful crime family. Beautiful, shrewd, and lethal, Daria Villalobos is on a mission of her own. Determined to be the first woman to take the reins of her father's notorious cartel, she hatches a plot to eliminate Veranda, framing a rival to take the fall. When the investigation blows up in Veranda's face, the hunt is on to stop the bomber. Now she must battle her department and her personal demons as she takes on Daria. To survive her most cunning adversary yet, will she make a pact with a killer? Praise for Phoenix Burning, Book 2 in the Veranda Cruz Mysteries: "Maldonado, a former law enforcement officer, brings her experience and expertise to this gripping police procedural.

About the Author

Isabella Maldonado


Before my foray into the world of writing, I retired from a career in police work. It's not the way most writers get their chops in crime fiction, but it was an incredibly rewarding career that I look back on fondly. Sometimes I think it would be fun to change out of the yoga pants and sneakers and put on a gun belt and Hi-Techs one more time. Then I think ... nah! I've got it good.


I retired as a police captain with over two decades of law enforcement experience. During my tenure on the department, I was a patrol officer, hostage negotiator, spokesperson and recruit instructor at the police academy. After being promoted, I worked as a patrol sergeant and lieutenant. Finally, as a captain, I commanded the Special Investigations and Forensics Division, Gang Council, Public Information Office and a patrol district station.

One of my most memorable experiences was graduating from the FBI National Academy in Quantico in 2008. It was eleven weeks of physically and mentally challenging study for law enforcement executives from around the world. Fun to sit at a dining table (or run the famous FBI obstacle course) with about 220 police officials from agencies as diverse as Australia, NYPD, France, Korea, the Texas Rangers, and even a Canadian Mountie!


After retiring as a police captain and moving to Arizona, I joined the Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter in 2010 with the goal of embarking on a second career as a crime fiction writer. I have always been a huge fan of the genre, and figured years of police work could help me write with credibility about the world of criminal investigations.

For five years, I attended workshops and writer's conferences and also studied numerous books on the craft of writing. In order to hone my skills for a full length novel, I wrote three short stories, which were published in Desert Sleuths anthologies.

In 2015, I was elected President of the Desert Sleuths Chapter. It was an amazing year, full of excitement as the organization grew to 120 members. I had the opportunity to work with an incredibly talented and dedicated group of people on our board of directors and in the chapter.

At our annual "Write Now!" conference, I pitched my debut novel to Terri Bischoff, Acquiring Editor for Midnight Ink. I was subsequently offered a three-book deal, and my writing career began in earnest. The first book in the Veranda Cruz series is now available at bookstores nationwide, and I'm finalizing edits on book two while I write book three. Busy, busy, but living the dream!


Sisters in Crime (national)

Mystery Writers of America

International Thriller Writers

Sisters in Crime (Desert Sleuths Chapter in Phoenix)

FBI National A

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