"In a style reminiscent of Rudolfo Anaya, Dolores Borrego Jacobs imagines a vivid back story to the real-life serial murders of eleven women in Albuquerque, NM in her novel Unsuspected. Her authentic dialogue and cultural details reveal a deep understanding of the area and its peoples as she unwinds her gritty, engaging mystery."  ~Susan Adair Harris, author of Death Lost Dominion

"Shocking!" ~ local book club member

"I cried after reading the end of Chapter 15." ~ book club member. 
A serial killer is on the loose in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The killer is seductive and methodical as he preys on prostitutes and other lonely women. Those women are later found in shallow graves on the West Mesa, but lack of forensic evidence at the burial site has not helped to catch the killer, and the case remains unsolved. Living in a small peaceful town along the Rio Grande is a troubled family where violence is only a few drinks of gin away. Rosa, a beautiful and resourceful young girl, is growing up in a traditional Hispanic family household with her parents and older brother, Ray. She is flirty and full of life, but family secrets and tragedy threaten to overwhelm her. Ray, on the other hand, is destined for the life of a business professional and while close to his sister, he lives in the city and stays removed from family problems. What isn't known, and can't be imagined, is that the serial killer lives among them, a family member whom no one suspects.

Around 2011, the murder of prosititutes and drug dealers had Albuquerque in a panic. They were buried in the desert, but no one was ever arrested. This intriqued me, so I built the story around this, but this is a only a part of my story. The dysfunctional family that dominates my story exposes the abuses often perpetrated upon families of alcoholics. It’s a complex story about the plight of many women in poor, rural communities.

​Ray’s reaction was involuntary and immediate. Without wasting words, he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her again towards the door. But half way there she balked, and he began struggling with her. He had to put his arms around her and pin her to him, to keep her from scratching him. As she turned in his grip, her round breasts kneaded against his chest. He couldn’t hold her long, and when he let go, she stepped back from him but didn’t try to escape.

Angry and excited, he couldn’t trust his legs to hold him up. He went down on his knees, put his hands on his thighs and hung his head, turning his eyes up to look at her. She stared down at him a moment, then methodically removed her skirt and stood naked in front of him. He was powerless to move against her. His anger surged as he felt the need to punish her. He stood up again, fighting hard to control himself.

She began to laugh–a low animal sound erupting in soft, melodic spasms that whittled at his control. Then she took a step towards him. With impulsive force, he struck her across the face with his hand.
“Get out!” he said. She sprung at him in a frenzy of snarling and clawing, but he was too fast for her. Catching her by the wrists, they struggled, and fell onto the bed. He put his weight on her to hold her down. A small drop of blood appeared on her lip where he had struck her. 

Immediately her arms went up around his neck in an embrace. She pulled open his shirt to expose the wounded area, and he braced to be bitten again. But it didn’t happen. Instead, she put her lips gently against the skin, drew her tongue across the welts made by her teeth and tasted his skin.  Helplessly, he submitted. He was still angry but now he was also aroused. He moved just enough to open his pants and pushed himself down on her, channeling his anger to the place where their bodies meet. She gave way at first then slowly her body became taut. He could hardly tell that she was breathing. He thrust his body hungrily, needing to satisfy an urge he knew well, and she met him, absorbing the impact. She began breathing rapidly. A moan started out of her, so subtle that it reminded Ray of a pigeon’s purling call. As the moan found its way out, it quavered plaintively before it rose and drifted. It was over in the span of a tense shudder, and his heat funneled into her. He collapsed and stayed where he was, gasping as though the air had turned to cotton.

Dolores Borrego Jacobs joins the ranks of writers who favor Southwestern themes and landscape, such as Leslie Marmon Silko, Rudolfo Anaya, and Tony Hillerman, and speaks to the reader in the language of the local people of New Mexico. She gives an intimate view of their lives, and establishes for us a strong sense of place that makes her novel both a timepiece beginning in the 1980's and a culturally relevant modern day murder story in the True Crime tradition. Her characters accurately portray people who could be your neighbors. Their dialogue is authentic and provocatively peppered with colorful expressions in Hispanic slang. 

Dolores Borrego Jacobs was born in Santa Fe, in 1948, the oldest of six children. She was raised in a bilingual household and is part of a large extended family. She was educated at New Mexico State University and later at the University of Tennessee. She was an English teacher in Austin, Texas, and in Knoxville, Tennessee. Retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory since 2012, she has begun a writing career that was postponed for nearly 40 years. UNSUSPECTED is the first in a series of novels based on the characters in the book.