Toward the Light by Bonnar Spring

Luz Concepcion returns to Guatemala to murder Martin Benavides, the man who destroyed her family. Benavides, who rose from insurgent fighter to president, controls a major drug network.

Richard Clement became Luz’s resettlement officer when she was evacuated to the US. He now works for the CIA, which has its own reasons for eliminating Benavides. Richard’s team persuades Luz to pursue a job as nanny to Benavides’ grandson, Cesar, a lonely child with an absentee playboy father.

The Guatemala contact for her mission is Evan McManus, an expat painter who pursues Luz, hoping to persuade her to model for him—and more. Luz initially spurns his advances, but her first terrifying encounter with Martin Benavides propels her into his arms.

Complicating matters, Luz conceals from all sides her clandestine contact with her surviving cousin, Antonio Torres, a guerrilla leader fighting the government propped up by the Benavides and their drug money.

The Big Thrill caught up to debut novelist Bonnar Spring for a quick chat about her upcoming thriller, TOWARD THE LIGHT:

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

I am a huge fan of two very different writers – Martin Cruz Smith and Patricia Highsmith. I don’t ‘write like’ either of them, but their characters are unforgettable and I love the devilish plots they weave. Martin Cruz Smith integrates setting as part of his story, something I try to do.

What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?

When I began writing—and later when I was joking around—I used to say that the biggest challenge was accessing detailed information about suicide bombers without having the NSA come knocking at my door!

More seriously, because the two main characters come together from such different worlds, developing a believable and growing relationship between them was a huge challenge.

On the other hand, the opportunity to revisit (in my mind) the sights, sounds, and smells of Central America was a joy.

Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?

This is a thriller told from the POV of a young woman without any military or espionage training. The main character, Luz, doesn’t know fifteen ways to kill someone without breaking into a sweat; she doesn’t even have a weapon. She relies on her wits and—ultimately—on her good sense to accomplish her mission.

*****

Bonnar Spring writes eclectic and stylish thrillers with an international flavor. A lifelong traveler, she hitchhiked across Europe at sixteen and joined the Peace Corps after college. She divides her time between tiny houses on a New Hampshire salt marsh and by the Sea of Abaco. TOWARD THE LIGHT is her debut novel.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.

 

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