He evolved almost whole after the first tale in 2005. Half-English, half-Spanish, he served in the forces and the secret service, roaming the world. This meant that he built-up an enviable selection of contacts he could call upon for help from time to time. As with our real-world private enquiry agents, who are not permitted to get involved in a murder investigation, he couldn’t go there; well, providing he wasn’t caught doing so, perhaps.
The tone is sometimes light, sometimes dark – because life is like that.
Victims really do need more champions; the criminals have had it their own way for too long. I wouldn’t suggest that Leon Cazador is a vigilante – that role is reserved for my protagonist in Sudden Vengeance. But he certainly strives to bring his kind of justice to the unrepentant ungodly.
For a taster, here’s the beginning of the story ‘Off Plan’:
I was wearing a false moustache, grey coloured contact lenses, and my hair was dyed black. My brother, Juan, wouldn’t recognise me. In fact, I had difficulty recognising me. I was no longer Leon Cazador but Carlos Ortiz Santos. Sometimes it was necessary to wear a disguise and take on a fake name to hoodwink the ungodly. This was one of those times.
“If you can’t come up with the €75,000, Alonso,” I said, “then I will make the offer to the other two developers.” I tapped the regional map impatiently with a forefinger. “The mayor wants the money soon, so it can all be settled.”
Alonso Vargas was slim and appeared urbane in his smart suit. He was convincing in his tone and words. The perfect conman, it seemed. “It is difficult, Carlos. That is a great deal of money.” He was toying with me, playing for time, and debating whether I would bargain. His dark eyes glinted. I knew it wasn’t with humour but greed. He rubbed his pointed chin, pretending to think. He needed a kick.
I sighed resignedly and started folding up the map.
“No, no, Carlos,” he said and urgently gripped my forearm and halted my retiring action. “I have the money, as promised.” He eyed the Mercadona supermarket bag at his feet.
“That’s good, Alonso.” I smiled and left the map half-folded.
He cocked his head to one side. “I suppose it would be foolish of me to ask for a receipt?”
I grinned and nodded. “That would be foolish, yes. The mayor has to pay several anxious people to adjust various documents. Others, they need financial incentives to keep their mouths shut.” I shrugged. “You know how it is.”
“Ah, yes.” His eyes glimmered with the prospect of four hundred acres of re-designated land, all his to build upon. “I know how it is.” His foot gently moved the plastic bag over the tiled floor towards me.
Leaning down and picking it up, I asked, “So, you can bring me the final instalment next week, as agreed?”
“Cash flow is difficult, times are not so good since the building boom has slowed down, you know.” He shrugged pronounced shoulders. “The crisis, it bites deeply.”
Shaking my head, I quickly finished folding the map. “If you cannot honour our agreement, then I must go elsewhere. We agreed you would pay me two instalments.” I slid the bag across the table, in plain view.
Anxiety was written all over his face. He glanced left and right, but nobody seemed to be paying us any attention.
“I’m not one of your clients, Alonso. Delay is not an option.”
“No, no,” he said hastily, pushing the bag towards me. “Please, take this now. It is difficult, but not impossible. I will have the rest of the money.”
He nodded and offered the same smooth trusting smile he turned on for his clients. “You have my word,” he said.
I stood up. “Your word is good enough for me, Alonso,” I lied and shook his offered hand. I turned and left the bar with the bag of money under my arm.
To find out how Alonso – and quite a lot of other crooks – gets his comeuppance, please purchase or otherwise obtain a copy of Spanish Eye, published by Crooked Cat. The e-book is really good value – and reviewers on Amazon UK and Amazon COM seem to think so too.