A Mick Murphy Key West Mystery

Car Wash Blues

I have been following for more than a year the Los Angeles Times' great series, Crisis in Mexico that deals with the awful drug war going on south of our borders.

I spent most of twenty-eight summers in Tijuana, Mexico attending bullfights and during that time, I made many friends. I even wrote two unpublished novels with Tijuana as the main setting.

Once outside the tourist area, Tijuana is a great city, or should I say was. I always felt safe on the streets late at night and found the people friendly. My twin daughters, Seanan and Chela, spent many of those summers with me and I would not have endangered them. I ate in great restaurants, befriended matadors, federal, state and city officials, as well as residents.

Since moving to Key West, I have made friends with a military intelligence officer and a retired DEA agent. As I discussed my second book with Jim, the intelligence officer, he pointed out some situations that needed correction, which led me to discuss my idea for "Car Wash Blues." You can imagine how surprised I was to find out Jim was well versed in the Mexican cartels, as well as the Colombian cartels, but what really surprised me was his knowledge of the Tijuana cartels.

When Ken, the DEA agent, and I became friends and I discussed the third book, I was again surprised to discover that Ken and his wife, Heidi, were the DEA agents in San Diego while I was living in LA, and also knew a lot about the Tijuana cartels.

I have a notebook filled with copies of the LA Times' articles and another notebook filled with info from my two friends. All of it, I hope, will make the gruesome details I expect will appear within the story factual and not just gore for gore sakes.

Briefly, "Car Wash Blues" deals with Murphy's background and his devastating experiences with a Mexican drug lord. You will have to buy the book to find out why the Tijuana cartel is after Murphy, but it has to do with something they believe he was recently involved in. The cartel sends men to Key West and they bring their brutality with them.

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Michael Haskins