Sweet Mary by Liz Balmaseda
A Novel

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In this mesmerizing debut novel by two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Liz Balmaseda, one woman’s hunger for justice becomes a journey into darkness—and a punishing, soul-searching test of priorities.

Liz Balmaseda is a twotime winner of the Pulitzer Prize, an author, screenwriter, and a writer for The Palm Beach Post. With Sweet Mary, a taut, emotional story about the cost of love and revenge, she adds “gifted novelist” to her list of accomplishments.

Dulce Maria “Mary” Guevara is a woman with nothing left to lose. Wrongly accused of being a cocaine queen, she has lost her job, her reputation, and—worst of all—custody of her son. Even after the charges are dropped, suspicion lingers. Desperate to get it all back, she takes what she considers the only path open to her: she goes on the hunt for the real drug queen. Unfortunately, the one person she is sure will be able to help her is the one person she wants least to see again: Joe Pratts, her exfiancé, a man whose connections to the drug world once ended their relationship.

Trying not to fall again for Joe is just the beginning of Mary’s challenges, however. The drug queen she is targeting is safely ensconced in the suburbs, hiding behind the façade of domestic tranquility. And taking her down means doing something that strikes Mary a little too close to home: she would have to leave the drug queen’s young daughter without a mother.

Sweet Mary is a gripping, heart-rending story with a noir soul and plenty of surprising twists— an assured debut from a writer with tremendous experience and talent.

About Liz Balmaseda

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Liz Balmaseda, born in Cuba in 1959, was awarded her first Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for her writings on the plight of Haitian refugees and the Cuban- American population. Her second Pulitzer Prize was awarded in 2001 for her role in covering the federal seizing of refugee Elian Gonzalez. She lives in Miami, Florida. This is her first novel.
Published June 27, 2009 by Atria Books. 256 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The quick-thinking, ambitious daughter of Cuban immigrants, Dulce Maria Guevara isn’t above climbing a stripper pole to make the sale on a million-dollar pleasure pad, a gambit that gets her the coveted top-seller pin in her real-estate group.

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Book Reporter

SWEET MARY is a story of self-valuation, checking premises, and understanding that values people impose on others need not be judged, as was Mary by error of the justice system and the child custody judge’s “babblings.” Drug kingpin Jimmy Paz (Spanish for “peace”) is located by Mary with the name...

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Sweet Mary: A Novel


"Sweet Mary" (Atria Books Hardcover, 242 pages, $24.99), by Liz Balmaseda: Real estate agent and single mom Mary Guevara is preparing for work when U.S. marshals suddenly show up at her door.

Jul 17 2009 | Read Full Review of Sweet Mary: A Novel


A drug bust, law enforcement run amok, vigilante justice— Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Liz Balmaseda transforms today’s headlines into Sweet Mary, an exhilarating fictional debut.

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