Cover Reveal: ‘The Cipher’ by Isabella Maldonado

On November 1st, The Cipher, the first book in an all-new series from Isabella Maldonado, is set to rocket into bookstores.

Maldonado, the talented force behind the Veranda Cruz mystery novels, will be stepping away from that series to introduce readers to FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera, a brilliant investigator with a horrific backstory that drives her to help those in need. In her first book, Nina is pulled into a dangerous game of cat and mouse after a run-in with a deranged serial killer who suddenly has his sights set on her. Written in the same vein as Lisa Gardner’s Find Me, readers should expect plenty of twists and turns along the way.

“I was in charge of my department’s Public Information Office during the infamous Beltway Sniper case, in which a pair of serial killers sent out cryptic messages between random shootings,” Maldonado told The Real Book Spy about how she came up with the story idea for The Cipher.

“The entire DC metro area was terrorized for over three weeks as everyone scrambled to figure out the killers’ next move. I thought about how this could play out on a national stage in which the suspect deliberately engages with the public through social media, leaving clues and puzzles to see who can solve them, all the while creating a massive spectacle which both feeds his ego and interferes with the investigation. Basically, a nightmare scenario for law enforcement.”

“I studied serial killers while attending the FBI National Academy in Quantico. The FBI pioneered criminal profiling of serial offenders and offers outstanding training. We studied famous cases that garnered a lot of media attention as well as others that few outside of law enforcement circles are aware of. Viewing the evidence, listening to snippets of interviews, and going over the cases from the investigating agent’s perspective was both sobering and illuminating. I wanted to write a story that would bring that kind of insider’s perspective to my readers.

When asked to describe her new book in just a couple of words, Maldonado told me, “UNSUB meets Silence of the Lambs meets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

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