Book Review by Carolyn Barbre
She’s sassy and sexy and green right down to her organic cotton underwear. A vegan who savors scrambled tofu for breakfast.
Dr. Esmeralda Green is biracial, Latina (her mom’s light-brown skin) and Irish (her dad’s red hair; her own being strawberry-blond). She tells her story in first-person English but swears and exclaims in Spanish. “Aye, Dios, mio! Why don’t we have more high-speed rail?” she questions when stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the 405 freeway—the state of traffic on the 405 pretty much 24/7.
Dr. Green is an ecopsychologist (as is author Cher Fischer in real life). “Ecopsychology acknowledges the environment as an important part of the human psyche,” Esmeralda explains. “When nature’s integrated into the human experience, things get intense. They get meaningful.” Already you have a dynamite combo for a mystery series California-style.
She lives in the yellow clapboard ranch house built in the 1960s by her abuelo and abuela in Majorca Point (the Palos Verdes peninsula). Her house is slip sliding toward the ocean with the shifting earth, and saving it is costly, such as new plumbing lines the power company has mandated she must have installed. But our girl only trades green stocks, usually solar or wind, and they are coming through for her.
The man in and out of her life is Gabriel Hugo García, local TV news superstar for the Latino global news organization KLAT. She meets up with him while riding her twelve-year-old palomino, Sam. Esmeralda uses the animal in equine-assisted therapy for patients. Garcia is covering a breaking story on location. He reports, “The young woman, Abigail Pryce, who was found dead tonight at the bottom of the highest cliff at Majorca Point, is the nineteen-year-old niece, or would have been the niece, of the long-ago suicide victim Charlene Pryce, who was only sixteen when she leapt to her death at this very same location …”
Charlene Pryce was Esmeralda’s best childhood friend and now her niece may have jumped, or maybe she was pushed off that cliff, but why? Why did Abigail call Esmeralda just the day before, wanting to talk? Why, before she committed suicide, did Charlene warn her to stay out of the water? Why suicide? Is Hummer-driving TV newsman Garcia sleeping with her nemesis, Detective Suzy Whitney, who drives a gas guzzling mega SUV?
Dr. Green is a quirky California gal who cares deeply about things that matter, the kind of protagonist you wish could be a real life friend.
Falling into Green, published by Ashland Creek Press, is the first book in what promises to be a fabulous eco-mystery series by Cher Fischer. This reviewer already is a #1 fan.