Tough on the Outside, Soft and Squishy on the Inside
by Paty Jager
Since the first book in the Spotted Pony Casino Mystery series came out, I’ve had several readers comment on how they like Dela’s toughness. I like that about her, too. When I conjured up this character in my mind, I wanted a woman in her thirties who had been in the military and not just in it but had taken in everything the service had to give.
Her dream had been to finish in twenty years, go out into the civilian sector, and get a job with law enforcement. Until an IED made scrap metal out of the Jeep she and five others were riding in. That moment changed the trajectory of her life. She was given a medical discharge three years short of her imagined twenty. She now had to learn how to walk and deal with daily tasks as a lower limb amputee. Her dream of a job in law enforcement could no longer come true.
Most people would call it quits and crawl into bed, tossing the covers over their heads. But did I say I wanted to write a tough female character? She gets out of rehab and moves in with her mom on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation where she grew up. She isn’t Native American, but she has always wanted to belong since the only family she has is her mom.
Her toughness gets her out looking for work on the rez. She finds it as a security guard at the casino. When Dela Alvaro is first introduced to readers it is in Stolen Butterfly, book 7 in my Gabriel Hawke novels. In that book, she is a security guard who helps Oregon State Trooper Gabriel Hawke and FBI Special Agent Quinn Pierce bring down a human trafficking ring. It also reveals that her boss, the head of security, was on the take.
This promoted her temporarily into Head of Security until in book one of the Spotted Pony Casino series, Poker Face, she has to find a murderer to keep her job. Now in this book, she has the job but could lose it at any time if she doesn’t keep the scandal at the casino out of the news. She goes about her job as efficiently as she can.
You’ve learned about her tough on the outside persona. Here’s the soft and squishy on the inside. 😉 In book one, Dela helps a dog that has been hit by a pickup. She discovers he will be put to sleep because the owner refuses to pay any medical costs. Her friend the veterinarian says the dog needs his leg amputated. Knowing what the dog will go through, she offers to pay the bill and take the dog. Eats A lot who gets his name changed to Mugshot is a German Shepard and Malamute cross. He’s a big dog but lucky for Dela he has manners and understands they both have limits to what they can do. She becomes attached to the animal and wonders how she never had a dog before.
When she purchases a run-down house her friend’s son, just out of high school, offers to do the remodel. She lets him and isn’t disappointed in his work. Where she lives is rural. When she is out jogging with Mugshot, they stop and visit a donkey that hangs his head over the fence. She is always ready to help out a friend or a stranger if they need it. In this book, she comes to the aid of a woman who is being beaten by her husband. Stepping into the middle of a domestic dispute gives Dela bruises and injuries, but she wouldn’t change it. She saved the woman’s life.
And her high school sweetheart has moved back to the reservation. He is a tribal policeman. He remembers her favorite foods and habits from their relationship all those years ago. Dela finds she doesn’t mind if he knows about her amputation and even likes having him around. Even though she has kept FBI Special Agent Quinn Pierce away from her house, not wanting him to see the handicapped bars in the bathroom and her crutches and extra prosthesis in her bedroom. Having a bit of a lovers triangle in this series will help to keep conflict and a bit of humor in the books along with interesting murders to solve.
Dela Alvaro is all business when it comes to her job and finding a killer, but she is learning to have more fun with Mugshot and her old boyfriend.
About The Book
House Edge: A Spotted Pony Casino Mystery
Greedy Power Companies
…and a body
A bitter dispute over the breaching of dams in Idaho sparks emotions at a summit held at the Spotted Pony Casino. When the keynote speaker is murdered, Dela Alvaro, head of security, teams up again with FBI Special Agent Quinn Pierce.
The suspects are many since it appears the victim was playing both sides of the controversial environmental issue. Did someone take advantage of a marital dispute… witnessed by a crowd of casino spectators? Or did an angry wife murder her husband?
Book 2 in the Spotted Pony Casino Mysteries has Dela Alvaro not only trying to keep her job by discovering the killer before word spreads about the murder, but she also has to deal with FBI Special Agent Quinn Peirce butting heads with her high school sweetheart who has returned to the reservation as a tribal policeman.
Purchase Link – Amazon
About the Author
Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 53 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
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More from Paty Jager
What inspired the idea for your book? I wrote a short story for a contest a few years ago and the main character stuck with me. I liked Dela Alvaro, a disabled female veteran who grew up on a reservation. In the short story she was Miwak, but for this series, I moved her to…Keep reading
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