Today’s ThrillerFest 2017 debut author is Isabella Maldonado and her new crime thriller Blood’s Echo. Read on to find out how she’d finish off her protagonist and what her final read would be on death row!

BookTrib: If you were on death row, what would be your last read? Why? 

Isabella Maldonado: As a former cop, for me to end up on death row means my life has veered way off course. I can only assume I was convicted of a crime I didn’t commit, like John Coffey in Stephen King’s The Green Mile. And no, that wouldn’t be the book I would choose as my last. It’s bad enough that I’m in those circumstances without reading about my impending demise.

Instead, I’d go for action and humor. And because I like to delay the inevitable, I’d request the entire Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I’ve read them all so far, but I might get lucky and a new one would come out right before my date with the executioner. I’d also write to Janet asking her if Stephanie ends up with Morelli or Ranger, promising to take the secret to the grave.

BT: If you were going to kill off your protagonist what method would you use?  Why?

IM: My protagonist is a seriously bad-ass police detective, so it would be difficult to kill her off. In fact, many have already tried. For her final battle, I would stage an all-out, knockdown, drag out, fight with one of her many foes (perhaps more than one at a time – the odds have to be bad). In the end, she would stay true to her innermost nature and sacrifice herself to save someone else. That’s who she is.

BT: What is the all-time best thriller you have ever read? Why?

IM: My favorite is Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. I loved the complex plot, historic detail, fascinating settings, breakneck pace, and layers of meaning. There’s a reason why it sparked furious debate and controversy worldwide upon its release. It’s one of those books you think about for years after you close it. Any story powerful enough to spawn a cottage industry of fan fiction, alternate theories, live tours, doctoral theses, and a blockbuster movie has connected on a visceral level.

Head over to Amazon to buy a copy of Blood’s Echo now!


Bloods Echo Isabella MaldonadoTwo years ago, Detective Veranda Cruz declared war on a ruthless crime family. She’s concealed the reason behind her vendetta with Bartolo Villalobos from the Phoenix Police Department, and now that she’s on the verge of success, her plan goes horribly wrong.

Always one step ahead of Veranda, Bartolo risks everything on an ingenious plan to destroy her and take his place as the heir apparent to a vast criminal empire. A mole on the police department thwarts her at every turn, and soon Bartolo threatens not only Veranda’s career, but everything she holds dear. Her mission becomes more personal than she ever imagined, and she’s forced to make the most difficult decision of her life.

Anyone who likes fast-paced, action-filled police stories, served with a side of authentic cop-humor and a splash of sizzle, this is for you!


Isabella MaldonadoBefore her foray into the world of crime fiction, Isabella Maldonado wore a gun and badge in real life. She retired as a captain after over two decades on the force and moved to the Phoenix area where her uniform now consists of tank tops and yoga pants.

While in law enforcement, she was a patrol officer, hostage negotiator, spokesperson, and recruit instructor at the police academy.  After being promoted, she worked as a patrol sergeant and lieutenant. Finally, as a captain, she served as Gang Council Coordinator, and oversaw a patrol precinct before her final assignment as Commander of the Special Investigations and Forensics Division.

She graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico after eleven weeks of physically and mentally challenging study for 220 law enforcement executives from around the world. She is proud to have earned her “yellow brick” for completing the famous FBI obstacle course.

Now her activities involve chasing around her young son and enjoying her family when she’s not handcuffed to her computer.

Isabella Maldonado is a member of the FBI National Academy Associates, International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime, where she previously served as president of the Phoenix chapter and currently sits on the board.