The first body washed ashore Saturday morning. It was discovered in Abalone Cove in Rancho Palos Verdes by a group of fishermen who had thought the decomposing corpse was a marine animal. The Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responsible for protecting the citizens of Palos Verdes spent their entire weekend scouring the beach for clues to the man’s identity and why he’d been sliced and dumped on such a beautiful Southern California beach.
CHASING DEMONS by Melissa M. Garcia

All About “STRANGER: A DEATH VALLEY MYSTERY” by Melissa M. Garcia

ABOUT THE BOOK:

There is a dead body in room 110 of the Death Valley Motel, and the evidence points to murder. Managers Ric and Alex Delgado, siblings with police work in their blood, chose this small Death Valley city specifically because it appeared to be a quiet place in which Alex could heal from the violent traumas of her past. Now a killer has struck too close to Alex, opening old wounds and threatening her new life.

The situation gets more complicated when Detective Will Stellar trains his observant eye on the siblings and ascertains they have something to hide. Murder seems to follow Alex Delgado, and Detective Stellar is certain she is a dangerous woman. Racing against time and against each other, the Delgados and Detective Stellar risk their lives to uncover the truth, which is ever more complicated and dangerous than any of them have imagined.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born in La Mirada, California, Melissa M. Garcia has lived almost her entire life in the sometimes gritty, always entertaining, and ever-changing landscape that is Southern California. She graduated from California State University in Long Beach with a degree in English/Literature. She published her first mystery novel, FALLING ANGELS, in 2006. Her second novel, STRANGER: A DEATH VALLEY MYSTERY was published in 2010. Melissa is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and supports the Crime Lab Project. Her novels are available in paperback and ebook formats. She currently lives with her husband in Southern California and is at work on her next novel, CHASING DEMONS, the sequel to FALLING ANGELS due out in 2012.www.melissamgarcia.com


WHERE CAN I PURCHASE:

Amazon.com: Hardcover, Paperback, For Kindle

Barnes&Noble: Hardcover, Paperback or For Nook

Apple ibookstore

Smashwords: For download to any device

All About “FALLING ANGELS” by Melissa M. Garcia

ABOUT THE BOOK:

After a panicked call from his best friend, Mattie Hardwin, Luc Actar must return to Los Angeles and the life he fled three years earlier. Mattie’s husband, a prestigious lawyer named Spencer Hardwin, has mysteriously disappeared. Desperate for assistance, Luc enlists the help of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in his search to find Spencer, despite his better judgment. But he soon learns that the detectives have their own reasons for locating Spencer—the lawyer has become the prime suspect in a drug dealer’s brutal murder.

As he hunts for the man he thought he knew, Luc’s history with Mattie haunts his dreams and drives him to the depths of the misery he once escaped. Back on the streets of Los Angeles, Luc employs old friends and encounters childhood rivals to take on the sheriff’s department, while a slew of lawyers impede his every move to save those closest to him from an unknown killer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born in La Mirada, California, Melissa M. Garcia has lived almost her entire life in the sometimes gritty, always entertaining, and ever-changing landscape that is Southern California. She graduated from California State University in Long Beach with a degree in English/Literature. She published her first mystery novel, FALLING ANGELS, in 2006. Her second novel, STRANGER: A DEATH VALLEY MYSTERY was published in 2010. Melissa is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and supports the Crime Lab Project. Her novels are available in paperback and ebook formats. She currently lives with her husband in Southern California and is at work on her next novel, CHASING DEMONS, the sequel to FALLING ANGELS due out in 2012.


WHERE CAN I PURCHASE:

Amazon.com: Paperback, For Kindle

Barnes&Noble: Paperback or For Nook

Apple ibookstore

Smashwords: For download to any device

The War on Meth

In Stranger: A Death Valley Mystery, many characters are caught in the whirlwind of drugs. Ric Delgado, once a narcotics detective in Los Angeles, is all too familiar with the problems that arise with drug abuse. When he moved to Lake City, Nevada, a small desert community near Death Valley, he had hoped to rid himself of the dangers of drugs. Unfortunately, like many small communities around the US, Lake City is not immune to the rising dangers of drugs. When the stakes are raised, Ric Delgado decides to fight the war on drugs in a big way.

For the past fifteen years, illicit or clandestine methamphetamine labs (“clan labs”) in the United States have declined since laws were put into place to limit the availability of the ingredients required to manufacture methamphetamines. Due to the restrictions, large-scale productions in Mexico thrived as drug cartels added meth to their already booming business of moving heroin, cocaine, and marijuana across the border.

But the landscape changed again in 2005. With the help of the United States, the Mexican government began fighting the meth problem. The government banned imports of pseudo-ephedrine (one of the main ingredients in meth). Current trends show that meth production is now making it’s reemergence in many California desert counties.

American meth makers have found a way around many of the laws created to prevent meth production, including a technique called “smurfing” where groups of people go to pharmacies to purchase small quantities of pseudoephedrine and then pool the score together.

But law enforcement isn’t just seeing a rise in small clan labs. Larger “super labs,” once only seen south of the border are now popping up in the United States. Last September a super lab was discovered in Riverside County, California. It wasn’t a traditional meth production facility, but was producing a refined liquid meth into crystal form.

We are far from winning the war on drugs, but Ric Delgado knows the dangers of a meth lab extend to more than the drug abusers.  Anyone living in or near a clan lab is exposed to immediate dangers and chemical contamination. The toxic nature of the ingredients leaves behind a hazardous waste. When the ingredients are combined, then can ignite, causing explosions, fires and the release of toxic fumes. Many times the waste material is dumped outdoors, causing damage to the environment and drinking water.

Learn the signs of a potential Meth lab, including a strong smells, residents never putting their trash out, lab materials surrounding the property, and laboratory glassware or rubber tubing being carried into the residence. If you see signs of a meth lab in your neighborhood, please report it immediately. For more information visit the following sites:

Stop Meth Addiction

Drug Abuse Information on Meth

Meth Lab Overview

What is Meth

This post first published in March 2011

Drugs at Home

With over 13 million Americans having used or tried Methamphetamine, it’s no wonder drug trafficking is a worry in the US. But unlike other drugs, the main source of meth is actually within our own borders. It is produced in clandestine meth labs, which can be found in a variety of locations, including garages, apartment rentals, trailers, motel rooms, houseboats, motor homes, and mini-storage units. Meth production is increasing all across the country. Recipes for making meth can be simple but extremely dangerous and toxic.

In my novel, STRANGER: A DEATH VALLEY MYSTERY a businessman learns how lucrative the illegal meth business can be. He also learns how dangerous it can become.

For more information on Meth visit MethResources.gov

For more information on STRANGER visit www.melissamgarcia.com

-This post first published in August 2010

LA - The Third World City

Los Angeles’ Skid Row covers about 10 square blocks in the heart of the city. At night, more than 15,000 people gather to sleep in cardboard boxes that line the streets. The city, known as the first “third world” city in the United States is just the tip of the iceberg. An estimated 110,000 people will be homeless in Los Angeles County at some time during the year with over 15% being children under the age of 18. People of all nationalities and backgrounds here are homeless. Some are trapped by drug addictions or mental illness, but most just couldn’t keep up with their rent payments. The main cause of homelessness is unaffordable housing for the poor. Women and children are now the fastest-growing segment of Los Angeles’ homeless population. Some sleep on the streets or in abandoned buildings, hungry, dirty, and in harm’s way.

In my novel, FALLING ANGELS, journalist and car thief, Luc Actar grew up homeless on the streets of Los Angeles. He escaped with the scars to prove it. Back in LA, Luc Actar remembers how the city treats the poor and the disadvantaged. He will employ old friends and encounter childhood rivals in order to save the angels falling around him.

For more information on how you can help the homeless visit the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority

For more information on FALLING ANGELS, visit www.melissamgarcia.com.

-This post first published in August 2010