Pete Fernandez has had more than his share of bad luck over the years. You’d think losing one’s job, father and fiancée, falling down the addiction rabbit hole, and going toe-to-toe with a serial killer (Silent City, Down the Darkest Street) would be enough to break a guy.
Fernandez is cut from sturdy cloth, however.
Determined to set his life on firmer footing, he begins working as a private investigator and attending AA meetings. He’s still figuring things out, however, not sure if trailing cheating spouses is the way he wants to spend the rest of his days.
Given his recent past, part of him appreciates the reliability and simplicity of the routine, not to mention the lack of personal danger. Deep down though, another part of him is still struggling with his urge for challenges and adventure, his desire to help right wrongs and fight injustice. Which part will win out is put to a serious test in Dangerous Ends.
Fernandez’s partner, Kathy Bentley, approaches him with a potential new case, one involving one of the most infamous murders in Miami’s history. Gaspar Varela, a former Miami narcotics detective, was convicted ten years ago for the brutal murder of his wife and is serving a life sentence. His daughter, now an adult, has always been Varela’s staunchest supporter, and wants Fernandez and Bentley to take a fresh look at the case. Their initial poking around doesn’t do much to convince Fernandez of Varela’s innocence, but when Kathy is attacked and mysterious forces seem determined to flag them off the case, Fernandez’s curiosity and sense of justice are triggered and he can’t help but start pushing back.
Strangely, the threads Fernandez follow lead back beyond the events of that night ten years ago, all the way to 1950s Cuba, the place his own grandfather fled following Castro’s revolution in 1959. When Los Enfermos, a ruthless gang of pro-Castro drug dealers, enters the fray in response to Fernandez’s nosing around, it becomes clear this case has potentially life-altering implications for Fernandez.
As with the first two entries in the Fernandez series, the city of Miami is as much a character as any person in the story. In Dangerous Ends, however, author Alex Segura takes readers beyond the neon-soaked nights and sun-drenched beaches that usually take center stage in Miami-based writing, weaving in flashbacks to 1950s Cuba and Castro’s takeover. In that regard, Dangerous Ends represents a more ambitious approach for Segura than the first two Fernandez outings.
While those entries addressed a case du jour via the prism of Fernandez’s personal issues, Dangerous Ends takes a step back and filters events through a broader perspective. Segura uses the idea of struggle—good cops vs. bad, Fernandez vs. himself, pro-Castro Cuban Americans vs. anti-Castro factions—to explore the concept of how the choices people make have consequences that impact not only their own lives, for both better and worse, but can have a ripple effect that lasts for generations. It’s a nice maturation, both of the series and of Segura’s talent as an author.
Dangerous Ends is available from Polis Books.