One October morning in 1932, Vicente Sorolla entered the white house on the hill and was never seen again.
Now, Detective Dori Orihuela witnesses his brutal murder in her nightmares.
Drawn to this tough but tender woman, Vicente materializes out of her butler's pantry and asks her to find his lost love, Anna. Dori wonders if she's not only about to lose her badge, but also her sanity. Instead, she learns how to live and love again from a dead man who becomes her friend.
LOST IN THE LIGHT takes us back to the wild days of Prohibition when whiskey could make a poor kid into a king, and turn a nice girl into a woman who can stand on her own feet. Mary Castillo's latest novel weaves romance, history and mystery into an ghostly, humorous, touching and unforgettable tale.
With the rain pattering on the roof of her car, she pulled up the semi-circular drive of the house the county of San Diego declared was legally and financially hers. Her Rav-4 looked ridiculous in front of the three-story, 19th century mansion that stood tall and proud even though one earthquake could send it into a smoking ruin.
The police tape Dori had draped across the sagging front porch fluttered in the wind. But she would fix it.
Together, piece by piece, both she and the house would be put to rights. Staring at it through her fogged up window, she remembered that sense it was hers when she first eyes on it when she was nine years old and her dad drove her and brother and sister by the house.
The memory was so clear that for a moment she was in the backseat of her dad's Scout, staring up at the house wondering who lived there and what went on through the murky, mysterious windows. There were three other 19th Century mansions in this neighborhood that had been beautifully restored. But this one was special. She'd came back to it through the years, even when she visited from Denver. Now it was hers.
Sighing, Dori reached across the seat for her CVS bag. Goosebumps sprang up her arms. She tensed; the back of her neck tingling with the awareness that she was being watched. Locked inside her car, she scanned the back seat and the yard.
No one lurked behind the dead boxwoods. The grass had dried up, and not even one weed sprung up out of the dry earth. The plastic bag crinkled as she closed her fist around it. The house wasn't in the best of neighborhoods but she refused to think about Grammy's worrying.
The weeks she'd first lived in the house, before the shooting, Dori never felt weird or scared. But it was good to be aware, she told herself as she pushed the door open and paused, sniffing chimney smoke from the neighbor’s house. It was quiet up here, the traffic on Sweetwater a soft hush that rode on the winds sweeping clouds across the sky. She shut the door and the alarm beeped. The bay windows in the front parlor reflected Dori as she walked up to the house.
Idly wondering what to pick from the meals Grammy had prepared for her, Dori plugged her key into the lock. Her heart gave a painful jolt when she looked up into the face of a man. He stared at her from the other side of the wavy glass window of the Dutch door.
His dark eyes narrowed. In one motion, Dori dropped her bag, stepped back and reached for her weapon. But she only felt the bandage under her shirt where her Smith and Wesson should've been. She swayed in momentary confusion and then remembered she'd locked it away. When she looked back up into the window, he was gone.
Dori stood there with her pulse kicking against her neck. He couldn't duck faster than the blink of an eye, nor was the window shade moving in the wake of a sudden movement. It hadn't been that long since she'd been with a man that she'd start making one up as Grammy had repeatedly warned. Warning pricked at her nerves. She pulled up alongside the edge of the door and peeked into her dark kitchen. She strained her ears, listening for movement in the house. Against her better judgment, she reached over and turned the key.
She pushed the door open and the smell of cologne stopped her short of walking inside. Dori instinctively rocked her weight onto the balls of her feet, her muscles tensing for a fight. Night crept across the yard behind her.
As a cop, she'd been in much scarier situations than this. But back then, Dori had a gun at her hip and a radio for back-up. Unlike real bad guys, figments of her imagination couldn’t send her to the hospital. Dori told herself to go out to her car and call the cavalry.
Instead, Dori propped the door open with an old brick. This was her house damn it and it might feel good to kick some ass.
Dori made her way through the gloomy kitchen and flipped on the light switch. The fluorescents flickered to life and their hum filled the silence. She crossed the kitchen and then poked her head through the door leading into the butler's pantry. The air held still, as if the house held its breath.
She crept across the floor, scanned the dining room and then reached in to turn on the dining room chandelier, which thankfully had survived the architectural rape and pillage of the 1970s. His shadow moved across the wall in the hallway. Fear shot up her spine.
"I'm armed," she called out, backing into the kitchen for a knife. Her Mossberg was upstairs in the safe. Then she remembered the knives were still packed in a box. She had a spork from her and Grammy's KFC lunch earlier today.
"Walk out the front door and you won't get hurt," she ordered, clutching the spork in her hand as she tiptoed back to the dining room. Her voice echoed.
She pressed the light button and the hall lights switched on. "Go out the front door."
The hall was clear. With her back pressed to the wall, Dori held her breath as she waited for an answer or a creak of a floorboard that would give away his position. She should go for the Mossberg. But she peeked into the front parlor, the room that had suffered the most damage in the house.
Something slammed against the front door shuddered and the lights snapped off.
"This book captivated me. The ending might have been my favorite. One of my favorite mystery reads of the year, and one to get your to-read list!" - Samantha March, Chick Lit Plus
4.5 Lightning Bolts
"Lost In The Light is an enchanting story that takes the reader from present to the past. Full of mystery, emotion, and a plot that keeps the readers on their toes, I couldn't peel my eyes away. Ms. Castillo, you've got a new fan. I can't wait for more!" - Storm Goddess Book Reviews
"I haven't read a mystery novel in quite some time. This one definitely reminded me of why I enjoy them so much. Lost in the Light is an enjoyable story that flips between the Prohibition in the 1920's/1930's and the present. And who doesn't love a good ghost story! Ghost shows up in your house, haunts you, asks you for favors and basically tells you what to do constantly... gotta love it!" - Lost in Literature
"The story is a page turner with old flames, sexy ghosts, family obligations that we all contend with, humor, and bonds with new female friends."
- Sandra Ramos O'Briant
“I think that the author weaves a fantastic tale through both worlds and we kind of see Dori evolve and grow through her experience and even able to allow her self to depend on others. I think this book is definitely worth picking up if you like a good historical mystery, with a touch of paranormal and a dash of romance. I will have to check out more of Ms. Castillo’s novels in the future.”
-Ramblings of a Semi Housewife
"Castillo created an interesting, and expertly woven tale that is fraught with romance and mystery. Dori’s guardedness, Vicente’s rough edges and Grammy’s spunkiness all made for very real characters and good story telling. Castillo knows how to dish up a story with some spice, and I’ll be looking forward to more adventures from Castillo in the future." - Cellar Door Lit Rants & Reviews
"Mary Castillo has written such a rich and compelling novel... I was pretty much glued to this book. To say I was behind Dori the whole way is an understatement. I love her!" - Whoopeeyoo! Reviews
Read the romantic interlude in the Dori Orihuela paranormal mystery series!
What Came First: "Till Death Do Us Part"
Grammy and Dori were introduced in the novella, "Till Death Do Us Part" in Names I Call My Sister. Grammy Cena is based on Mary's Aunt Irma Noah who passed away on August 28, 2012. She will live in on Mary's imagination and in her heart.