Looking for a thrilling novel to heat up your summer? In August, Linda Hurtado will release All the Broken Girls, a crime novel set in Tampa Bay involving a female journalist and a serious (and seriously hot) detective who are on the hunt for a possible serial killer.
If you recognize Hurtado's name, that's because she's an award-winning journalist for Tampa's Fox 13, which broadcasts in Sarasota. Originally born in San Francisco, Hurtado dove into journalism and the arts while in high school. She joined the student newspaper, participated in theatrical performances and became a student at a creative arts school where she started her first novel. She says that when she was young, you could always catch her walking the halls with a notebook tucked under her arm and a pencil at the ready in case inspiration struck.
She later earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and, after bouncing around for jobs from Wilmington, North Carolina, to Fort Myers and eventually Orlando, landed at Fox.
“I love current events and I like to be in the front row to all the exciting action that happens in a community,” says Hurtado. “So when I started thinking about it, television journalism was the perfect mix of all my great passions.”
Hurtado used the experience of her day job to help create a world of crime-fighting news anchors on the hunt to unmask a hidden killer. Hurtado says she enjoys thrillers because she has always been both an adrenaline junkie and a lover of action and adventure.
Inspiration for Hurtado's fiction struck when she was reading about a true adventure vacation story in the newsroom one day and wondered how easy it would be to commit a murder and frame it as a freak accident that takes place during a dangerous activity, like skydiving, swimming with sharks or scuba diving.
After receiving encouraging words from a co-anchor, Hurtado decided to give the idea a chance and has published a total of four books, all thrillers, with a touch of romance for added drama. While the first two are part of a series, the most recent books are written to be standalone reads. To publish the books, Hurtado created the pen name Linda Bond—a nod to her love for the James Bond franchise.
Hurtado’s newest novel, All The Broken Girls, is centered around Cuban-American crime reporter Marie Alvarez, who is on a personal hunt for a killer who leaves a broken doll at each murder scene, a crime that rings eerily close to home for Alvarez. With the help of by-the-book homicide detective Tony Garcia, Alvarez works to prove her hunch that there's a serial killer operating in the pair's west Tampa neighborhood.
One refreshing take on the crime thriller genre is the choice to create a female lead who has deep roots within the Cuban and Hispanic communities in the Tampa Bay area. Hurtado says her blended family is full of Hispanic culture; she met her husband while on assignment in Cuba.
“What I love is marrying my two careers and making the Tampa Bay area and Cuban culture part of the character for the book,” says Hurtado.
Another unique element of the novel is Hurtado’s choice to publish with Entangled Publishing, a 100 percent women-owned independent publishing house. Hurtado says that the company's owners were “the first people to believe in her,” which prompted her to accept a deal and work with a boss who is “very supportive.”
“The women run the show there and I think that’s fabulous,” she says.
Even though her novels are classified as thrillers, Hurtado says there is always a bigger theme in her writing. “The message in this book is about how far someone will go for justice,” she says. “Does it matter how justice is served, if it’s deserved?”
When it came to the characters, Hurtado says she used the book to pay homage to her Cuban mother-in-law by basing a key mother figure on her. “Abuela Bonito is a shoutout to my mother-in-law because she has been such a big influence in my life,” says Hurtado. “So this character is kind of a big kiss to her.”
When it came to Hurtado’s own mother, the author crafted a touching monument to her, as well. In one emotional scene, Hurtado includes selections from the last letter her mother wrote to her before she died.
“You put a little personal piece of yourself in all of your books, but none as much as I did with this book,” says Hurtado. “It’s my mom’s words. It’s nice knowing that they will live on forever.”
All the Broken Girls will be released on Tuesday, Aug. 23. The book can be preordered on Amazon or from other booksellers. For more info, visit Hurtado's website or join her loyal community of readers, the “Bond Girls,” to access exclusive content, contests and more.