None of this would be happening if she had just let him jump. She wouldn’t be sitting in a windowless prison in the-middle-of-nowhere, Mexico, if she had just let him jump off the ledge of that dive hotel in Hollywood, California. Not that Lucy could have probably actually done that — she’s a good person, after all, but it certainly would have made her life much easier. There’d be no murder, no poisoned cattle, no Mexican drug cartels, and no sexy CNN correspondent. But then, where’s the fun in that? And S.A. Hinkin’s Deadly Focus: A Vega & Middleton Novel certainly is fun.
Deadly Focus’s main protagonist is Lucy Vega, a smart, headstrong reporter who gets drawn into a world of political intrigue beyond her imagining when her uncle is killed in a car accident. While wet roads and bad weather are officially to blame, Lucy suspects something more sinister is at play, and decides to find out what really happened. Her sleuthing takes her to a far-flung village in Mexico, where she uncovers an international heroin operation abetted by corrupt law enforcement and a priest who is not near as holy as he seems. She also discovers that her imprisonment in Mexico and her uncle’s death on the Pacific Coast Highway are much more connected than the geographic distance would suggest.
This is the first book of the Vega & Middleton series. Lucy Vega, Bea Middleton, Ray Truckee, and the lot are likeable and genuine, and Hinkin does a good job of portraying the trust, camaraderie, and friendship that develops between people when they have been working together for a while, often under tense circumstances. While the Middleton of Vega & Middleton takes a bit of a back seat to Lucy in this book, Bea is a strong, capable, entertaining character in her own right. Hopefully we’ll see more of her in a future Hinkin novel. Until then, Lucy and her wild, page-turning exploits in a remote Mexican jungle will definitely satisfy those looking for a story chock-full of adventure and chicanery with a tough, tenacious, and tender heroine at its heart.