(Third in the Carlotta Carlyle series)

St. Martin's Minotaur

ISBN: 0-312-93263-4

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When a mysterious woman asks Carlotta to help locate her missing immigration card, it looks to be a pretty straightforward assignment. That is, until the lady disappears, and the card turns up in the possession of another woman...who just happens to be dead. Suddenly the case is far too intriguing for Carlotta to drop — and when her investigation indicates that her client was somehow connected to her inner-city little sister Paolina, Carlotta's got an even bigger stake in seeing it through. Alongside a handsome immigration agent with some secrets of his own, she follows her leads into the treacherous underground world of illegal aliens and those who mercilessly prey upon them. It's a lawless, dangerous territory: a place where the only thing Carlotta can rely on is her own wits, and where nothing — from innocence to life itself — is sacred...



Book cover review:

Why Carlotta?

A blazing redhead, a loner with a cabbie's license and a mean volleyball spike, Carlotta Carlyle has a talent for trouble. Tonight her mysterious client speaks broken English and clutches a newspaper detailing the discovery of a mutilated body in the Boston Fens. The corpse has an immigrant's green card and that card, the client claims, belong to her. She wants it back. But who is she? Where has she gone? And why do all the leads connect her to Paolina, Carlotta's charming urban little sister? Paolina won't talk. And suddenly Carlotta is plunged deep inside the desperate world of illegal aliens, the cold-hearted immigration agents who hunt them down, and the deadly "coyotes" who lead even innocent young girls to the slaughter.

Move over Spenser. Make permanent room on the streets of Boston for another sleuth who's big (six foot one), strong, and tough as nails but soft at the core. — Entertainment Weekly

One of the most sparkling and irresistible heroines ever to grace the pages of a whodunit! — Chicago Sun-Times

[Carlotta is] the genuine article: a straightforward, funny, thoroughly American mystery heroine. — New York Post

Publishers Weekly

Although the title may suggest a Western setting, Coyote brings back to familiar Boston territory six-foot-tall, flame-haired sleuth Carlotta Carlyle. This time the ex-cop and sometime cab-driver prowls overcrowded apartments where illegal aliens rest — and sometimes find their final resting places — after their ill-paid labors. Carlotta's latest case is neatly tied in with her sensitively depicted relationship with Paolina, a child she has befriended through the Big Sister program who has led a troubled alien, Manuela Estafan, to Carlotta. But when Manuela disappears and her I.D. is found on the mutilated body of a murder victim, Carlotta's investigations — running parallel to work done by her cop-friend Mooney — reveal the work of a coyote — one who exploits illegal aliens. The case also teaches Carlotta a surprising lesson: much like male private eyes of yore, Carlotta looks at the opposite sex in sexually stereotyped terms. When her libido overcomes her better judgment she makes an error that could prove fatal. Carlotta is at her best when she focuses on the personal plight of the individuals who make up the nameless legion of potential deportees. While discovering the truth about them, she convincingly provides wisdom and comfort to the child she adores. Mystery Guild main selection.

The third and best Barnes novel to feature Carlyle...every step of the way, the writing is solid, the plot has a basketful of red herrings, and the characters are all thought out and finely tuned.
— People

Library Journal

Boston private investigator/part-time cabbie Carlotta Carlyle's search for a frightened woman's green card involves her in an underground world of illegal immigration, labor exploitation, and gruesome mutilation murder. Working in tandem with buddy Lieutenant Mooney, upstairs tenant/free spirit Roz, and hunky-but-deceptive Immigration and Naturalization Service agent Clinton, the animated and energetic Carlyle discovers important information just about the time her beloved "little sister" Paolina disappears. Attractive, athletic, and human as always, Carlotta acts with unequivocal panache. A winning repeat performance for the heroine of The Snake Tattoo and A Trouble of Fools. Mystery Guild main selection.