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A Notable First

Sweet Debut

Book review of Pulitzer-awarded journalist Liz Balmaseda's first novel, Sweet Mary.

En español | A drug bust, law enforcement run amok, vigilante justice— Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Liz Balmaseda transforms today’s headlines into Sweet Mary, an exhilarating fictional debut.

Maria Guevara, a Cuban American real estate agent, thinks she’s living the American Dream — that is, until her home is raided in a case of mistaken identity. After her son, job, and reputation are torn from her, Maria embarks on a quest to find the other Maria, a cocaine queen. In the process, our protagonist runs up against questions of class, motherhood, and identity. Will she find her way back home? The reader is left with a story that resonates long after today’s six o’clock news has been forgotten.

Liz Balmaseda is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who previously wrote for The Miami Herald and now writes for The Palm Beach Post. She was awarded her first Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1993, for her reporting on the plight of Haitian refugees and the Cuban-American population. Her second was awarded for breaking-news reporting in 2001, for her role in covering the federal seizing of refugee Elián González.

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