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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Meet Detecive Inspector Nate Duarte of the Tucson Police Department

For those of you that want to know what are you writng now well here is a brief overview.

Meet Nate Duarte, a Tucson sex crimes detective. In a five-book series spanning from 2006-2010 Duarte is tasked with solving four unspeakably evil crimes and then in the final novel, because of a specific knowledge that he has, which is the back-story in the four proceeding books, he helps a Federal Task force bring to justice a heinous Mexican drug lord, head of the Sonoran cartel, who is held responsible for much of the border crime between Arizona and Mexico. In a storyline ripped from day-to-day news headlines in Southern Arizona Duarte brings life in Tucson to the fore for the world to read about.

In book one, as we first meet detective inspector Duarte he and his partner, Hector Martinez, have been brought into an investigation to help solve the disappearance of five missing women. What started out as a missing persons crime has rapidly escalated into a sex crime once it is discovered that a fugitive sex-offender Charleston Ficus is involved. Ficus has set up a bogus health resort to entrap women, using money from a mail-order sex-toy distribution company that he and a former cell-mate have organized as a legitimate corporation.

Unbeknownst to Duarte the women have all been kidnapped and tortured and are being held in chains in a ramshackle horse-barn in the outskirts of Pima County in the small town of Three Points, where meth and incest are the predominate forces of nature. With time running out Duarte and the local southern Arizona SWAT team are called upon to attempt the rescue.

In book two a child molester has killed his step-daughter to stop her from accusing him. He uses his job as a janitor in the downtown Tucson police headquarters to cover up the crime. By collecting hair samples from commodes and showers he plants police officer DNA on the bodies of other teenage girls he kills to draw attention to a supposed corruption in the TPD.

Book three is a story of wealthy and bored housewives from Tucson who, for lack of excitement in their lives, form a club online where they arrange to perform naughty deeds in public and post photos on a web site to titillate each other. The deeds escalate as they attempt to out-do each other. Little do they realize that they have been infiltrated by a male; in fact he was the one that met them through an online chat room and instigated all their plans for his own sick interest. As the performances become more and more daring he can’t help but get involved, resulting in the rape and murder of one of the members.

The fourth crime is the story of an office burglar who targets small offices as they are closing, stealing cash, jewelry and wallets etc. from unsuspecting folk, caught unaware at the five-o’clock closing. They are all concentrating on leaving for home when the burglar strikes. His SOP is to make all the occupants of the office strip naked – the theory is that they will less inclined to go running out in the street nude to bring attention to themselves while he effects his escape – taping each other to office chairs while he ransacks the place. Eventually he starts having unlikely members of the staff perform sexual deeds on each other while he watches their embarrassment until it escalates into he having to get involved too.

The back-story influences the fifth and final book in the series. Duarte has a couple of secrets. The flawed protagonist has an affinity for prostitutes. Not for going with them but in protecting and aiding them. It turns out his mother was a prostitute. Initially she was secretary – and second cousin – to Jose Napoleon Duarte, who was running for president of El Salvador. When he was over thrown and sent into exile to Venezuela in 1970 his followers and staff had to flee the country to avoid prosecution, or worse. She fled up through Central America, making it to Arizona, where she was arrested by the US Border Patrol. By flirting with the Border Patrol officer she was able to coerce him into an affair which resulted in her pregnancy. Unfortunately the BP officer was shot to death two day after they met by the return of the coyote who guided her to the border, as he attempted to get paid for his actions.

All alone in a strange country, abandoned and scared, Consuela Duarte learns she is with child and has to protect it at all costs. Eventually the child, Nathaniel (Nate) is born in the border town of Nogales, born a US citizen. When Consuela is arrested not long after that and returned to Mexico with her child she spends the next eight years living life the best she can waiting for cousin Napo to be released from exile and his triumphant return to El Salvador and she can return to her home. She makes the best life she can for the child eventually becoming a dancer and a prostitute to make ends meet. One day a Mexican mid-level gangster comes to the club and sees her perform. He recognizes her as the illegal alien he helped transport over the border almost a decade ago. In a fit of rage he followers her to her private room and strangles her to death. The eight-year old Nate witnesses his mother’s murder and manages to escape.

Later that month Nate is plucked from the streets of Nogales Sonora, where he is running as an orphaned urchin - the little blonde Mexican, looking like Mowgli and the wolf-pack, by a young novice stationed at the Catholic Mission. When this nun-in-training discovers Nate has a US birth certificate, just about his only personal affect, she helps re-unite him with the American family that knew nothing of his existence, the Border Patrol officer’s parents. Wealthy land owners and owners of a timber mill in Minnesota they retire and embrace a new life in Tucson to raise Nate as their own son, giving him a family and an inheritance of untold wealth. When Nate graduates from Notre Dame, Jose Napoleon Duarte’s alma mater, with a law degree he surprises everyone by pursuing a career in the TPD, his full intent to bring his parent’s murderer to justice.

By this time the Mexican gangster has risen in the ranks to head of the Sonoran cartel. During his career as police officer Nate has studied and kept track of the coming and goings of this beast of a man, waiting for the right opportunity and is drafted into a Federal Tax force to help bring him to justice for corruption against the American people. Of course Nate has his own agenda.

As I fixed this plot in my head I was unsure how to bring out the back-story without overwhelming the first book and taking away from the sex-crime that needed to be solved. The back-story line is so strong, a story in its own right, and so important. It weaves through the books as the gel that keeps them together. Each book will be a stand-alone novel but by reading then in order will help their cohesiveness. It bothered me so badly that I could not write anything for a while until I found a way to string out the back-story without it overwhelming the first book. I decided to bring back the novice that rescued him off the street in Nogales, only this time as a nun in a convent in Tucson. A chance meeting, over an abused child, brings the two of them back together. A strong spiritual bond of friendship is forged between the two characters, allowing Duarte to turn to the sister and tell her, over the course of the four books, the things that have transpired over his life since they first met twenty-eight years previously, including the one secret Duarte as never told anyone - even his child-hood therapist - that he saw his mother murdered and can identify the killer.

I am well into about ten half-formed "first-shitty drafts" chapters but the thoughts keep flowing and I am working to get going as best I can in the limited time I have to write in my stress-filled life. If anyone knows an agent who can get me a deal for five-book series lets talk. I can invision that once Duarte captures his parent's murderer that he will go on to pass the bar, seeing as he has a law degree, and maybe he will have a new series about his life as a Tucson attorney!.. and then perhaps a judge! The ideas are endless.

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