Edna Buchanan was one of the first female crime journalists in Miami, writing for the Miami Beach Daily Sun and the Miami Herald as a general assignment and police-beat reporter, covering close to 5,000 murder cases. In 1986, she won a Pulitzer Prize for general reporting. After 18 years on the beat, she turned to writing books full time, both nonfiction and fiction, and a TV movie starring Elizabeth Montgomery as Buchanan was based on the memoir filled with her experiences, The Corpse Had a Familiar Face.
The author's novels include five standalones, a series with Sergeant Craig Burch of the Miami Police Department's Cold Case Squad and another series featuring Miami Daily News staffer Britt Montero, the American daughter of a Cuban patriot killed by Castro's firing squad. As the author herself describes her, Montero "she has a tender spot for the city's underdogs, but is smart and tough enough to pursue a story no matter where it takes her." The second outing with Montero was Miami, It's Murder, nominated for an Edgar award in 1995.
Miami opens with Montero getting pulled into the case of the Downtown Rapist who finds his prey in isolated bathrooms in the skyscraper office buildings of central Miami. At the same time, she's pursuing a string of bizarre revenge murders and also the cold-case sex murder of a small girl that could implicate a powerful candidate for the governor's race. Aided by her mentor, retired police detective Dan Flood who has a terminal illness, Montero tries to keep her personal and professional lives from spinning out of control when the Downtown Rapist starts sending her threatening messages, and she gets pressure from all sides—he Miami police, her newspaper employer and the gubernatorial candidate's hatchet men.
Buchanan penned nine novels featuring the tough yet tender Montero and her no-holds-barred investigative journalism, the last in 2007:
1. Contents Under Pressure (1992)
2. Miami, It's Murder (1994)
3. Suitable for Framing (1995)
4. Act of Betrayal (1996)
5. Margin of Error (1997)
6. Garden of Evil (1999)
7. You Only Die Twice (2001)
8. The Ice Maiden (2002)
9. Love Kills (2007)
For other worthwhile "Forgotten" titles, check out Patti Abbott's weekly feature on her blog.