Lee Alvarez takes a job ferreting out the saboteur of a start-up company’s Initial Public Offering in the heart of Silicon Valley. Little does she know early one morning she will find the CEO hanging by the neck in the boardroom wearing nothing but his baby blue boxers. Was it suicide? Or was it one of the many people who loathed the man on sight, including his famous rock singer ex? Enter the world’s scariest drug, Devil’s Breath, and the bodies start piling up all the while she’s planning her very own Christmas wedding. Ho, ho, ho.
Author of the award winning
Alvarez Family Mystery Series
First of all, I write funny and writing funny is serious business. As the author, you have to make sure the humor comes across but doesn’t get in the way of the all-important mystery. When Murder is a Family Business won the Single Titles Reviewers’ Choice Award 2011, I hoped I was onto something. When A Wedding to Die For, the second of the Alvarez Family series, became a finalist in both the EPIC and Global Awards 2012, I cheered. When Death Runs in the Family, the third offering, won the Global Gold for Best eBook Mystery Fiction 2013, I was thrilled and went on writing. DEAD….If Only, Book four, won the Silver Global in 2015, and now there’s The CEO Came DOA. I’m beginning to think there is an appeal for a quirky family filling different roles in the family-owned detective agency, Discretionary Inquiries, a detective agency which investigates software, hardware, and Intellectual Property theft. Murder is just not part of their job description.
Lee Alvarez, the protagonist, is a reluctant PI who wanted to be a ballerina, but is a mediocre dancer, at best. As a ferret, however, she’s aces. Lee is aided in the job by her brother, Richard, a computer genius sans social skills, who runs the IT department.
These two are kept under the beautifully manicured thumb of their never-had-a-bad-hair-day CEO and mother, Lila Hamilton Alvarez, she who has been known to chill chardonnay at a single glance. Keeping the home fires burning is Tío, uncle and retired head chef, offering unconditional love and tortilla soup. Love interest, Gurn Hanson, listed in the yellow pages as a CPA, is also an ex-Navy SEAL. He comes in handy now and then. Add to this group a white and orange cat named Rum Tum Tugger and you have the cast of characters.
The series starts two years after the unexpected death from an aneurysm of the patriarch, Roberto Alvarez. His death causes the realignment of familial positions, not an unusual occurrence after so big a loss. Did I mention this series is humorous? But you have to start off in a serious place in order for humor to work. Really, really. Just ask Milton Berle.
Anyway, these unmatched souls do their darnedest to be positive, supportive, and loving of one another, no matter how annoying the other’s behavior. Lee Alvarez sometimes becomes overwhelmed, but always tries to be a B&BP (bigger and better person), even while chasing the bad guy over rooftops, ruining her Bruno Magli’s.
All in all, I wanted the series to be warm and funny yet real, with on-going characters you wouldn’t mind hanging out with, although blueblood and matriarch Lila Hamilton Alvarez does not ‘hang’ unless she’s moving her Monet closer to the baby grand. I’ve been lucky that so many readers and reviewers get what I’ve been attempting to do with this odd little family i.e., let’s have fun while solving a crackerjack mystery!
Another important issue for me is to show blended families. The Italian half of my ancestors came to the States in the early twentieth century, when it was difficult to be Italian. But they worked hard to integrate and became useful members of society. I decided to write about new immigrants working hard and succeeding now, today. The series revolves around a half-Latino, half-Palo Alto blueblood family that has managed to capture the American dream through perseverance, hard work, familial love, and oh yes, with a trust fund. Money never hurts, folks.
One sentence blurbs:
Murder is a Family Business –Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark, and handsome, is that any reason to kill him?
A Wedding to Die For – A groom arrested for murder can put a crimp in anybody’s wedding, so when the nuptials of her best friend are threatened, maid-of-honor, Lee Alvarez, heads south of the border in search of the real killer.
Death Runs in the Family – Lee Alvarez’ ex-husband, Nick — a man she divorced with joy in her heart and a gun in her hand – sprints back into her life in a 5K toward murder.
DEAD…If Only – A man who should be dead isn’t, and Lee Alvarez’s very pregnant sister-in-law, Vicki, is about to be charged with a murder he recently committed in the Big Easy.
The CEO Came DOA – While planning her own Christmas wedding, Lee Alvarez finds a Silicon Valley CEO hanging by the neck in his boardroom wearing nothing but his baby blue boxers.
About the Author
After studying drama at the University of Miami in Florida, Heather went to Manhattan to pursue a career. There she wrote short stories, comedy acts, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and two one-act plays, which were produced, among other places, at the famed Playwrights Horizon. Once, she even ghostwrote a book on how to run an employment agency. She was unemployed at the time.
Her first novel started the Silicon Valley based Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series. Murder is a Family Business, Book One, won the Single Titles Reviewers’ Choice Award 2011, followed by the second, A Wedding to Die For, 2012 Global and EPIC finalist for Best eBook Mystery of the Year. Death Runs in the Family won the coveted Global Gold for Best Mystery Novel, 2013. DEAD….If Only won the Global Silver for Best Mystery Novel, 2015. Her fifth novel of the series, The CEO Came DOA, debuts September, 2016. She loves writing this series mainly because she gets to play all of the characters, including the cat!
Heather’s other series, The Persephone Cole Vintage Mystery Series, is set in Manhattan circa 1942, during our country’s entrance into WWII. The Dagger Before Me, Book One, was voted best historical and mystery novel by Amazon readers in October, 2013. It was followed by Iced Diamonds. Book Three, The Chocolate Kiss-Off, is a 2016 Lefty Award Finalist Best Historical Mystery.
On a personal note, her proudest award is the Silver IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Awards) Best Mystery/thriller 2014 for Death of a Clown. The stand-alone noir mystery is steeped in Heather’s family history. Daughter of real-life Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus folk, her mother was a trapeze artist/performer and father, an elephant trainer. Heather likes to say she brings the daily existence of the Big Top to life during World War II, embellished by her own murderous imagination.
Heather gives lectures, speaks at book clubs, and moderates author panels in the Bay Area, as well as teaching the art of writing. She believes everyone should write something, be it a poem, short story or letter. Then go out and plant a tree. The world will be a better place for it.