Vasquez, Ian

In the Heat by Ian Vasquez: Book Cover In the Heat (2008)
From Publishers Weekly
At the start of Vasquez's promising first novel, which is set in Belize, fading boxer Miles Young is planning to hang up his gloves and dedicate himself to raising his small daughter, Lani. Then he receives an offer too good to pass up—the chance to fight ex-champ Hakeem Wahen in Florida in three weeks if he'll agree to help Isabelle Gilmore, an attractive well-to-do woman, find her missing 17-year-old daughter, Rian. Besides decamping with her undesirable boyfriend, the son of a corrupt former police inspector, Rian has taken a load of cash from her mother. Isabelle claims her interest in locating Rian is purely maternal, but Young suspects she has been less than honest with him. An inexperienced gumshoe, Young winds up paying dearly for his involvement in the case. While the story ends somewhat predictably, Vasquez, who grew up in Belize, does a good job of conveying his native country's underbelly and making Young a credible, if flawed, figure. (June)
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Lonesome Point by Ian Vasquez: Book Cover Lonesome Point (2009)
From Booklist
Moving beyond the conventions of the hard-boiled detective story, which he put to such good use in his debut, In the Heat (2008), Vasquez delivers a noir-style story line in which a regular guy, albeit one with a secret, finds his past rearing up to grasp him in a stranglehold. An immigrant from Belize (where In the Heat was set), Leo Varela is a wannabe-poet, working nights in a Miami psychiatric ward, when Freddy Robinson, a small-time grifter from back home, strolls into his life with a proposition: help him kidnap one of the patients in the ward or face up to what happened at Lonesome Point, where the lives of Leo and his brother, Patrick, now a rising Miami politician, were forever altered. Leo and his girlfriend, Tessa, have a plan to free themselves from Patrick, Freddy, and the memory of Lonesome Point, but inevitably it all goes bad, as such plans must. Vasquez builds our sympathy for Leo and Tessa skillfully, adds a Quentin Tarantino–like supporting cast, and tightens the noose exquisitely, finishing with a nicely ambiguous ending. Expect much more from Vasquez, whose star continues to rise. --Bill Ott

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