Briefly noted: ‘Mercedes Wore Black,’ by Andrea Brunais

Mercedes Wore Black, by Andrea Brunais, Southern Yellow Pine Publishing (June 14, 2014), 291pp.

mercedesworeblackI’m enjoying this smartly written political thriller set in Florida where I grew up. As a former college publications adviser from a “journalist family,” I see immediately that Andrea Brunais knows the world of reporting and gets it right, especially in the domains of murder, political intrigue and the often-losing out Florida environment.

From the Publisher

Florida Politics. The only thing predictable is the unpredictability. When Janis is fired from her job at the newspaper, she focuses on the causes that matter to her. The environment and the economy. That embroils her in the 2014 election.

When her good friend Mercedes encounters danger and is brutally murdered, Janis begins to investigate. She finds herself in a political maelstrom of big money, lottery, and interests with opposing goals. Will she be able to find the crux of the problem—and Mercedes’ killer? Will she be able to expose corruption before anyone else is put in danger?

Quotes from the Reviews

  • “Fast-paced, exquisitely written, Mercedes Wore Black vividly depicts the underbelly of the newspaper industry and the all-too-real shenanigans of those who are ever willing to sacrifice Florida’s natural treasures” – Joe Guidry, The Tampa Tribune
  • “A fast-moving story with as much Florida flavor as a grouper sandwich.” Daniel Berger, Amazon reader review.

Floridians especially will enjoy this novel for it is rich in recent political history, on-going environmental issues pitting development against the land, and places state residents know well such as Tate’s Hell Forest, Sopchoppy, Bradenton, Tallahassee and Wakulla Springs. While these strengths will endear the book to Florida readers, they could be a little too much for those in other parts of the country–could be, for the intrigue is high level and will carry readers past the heavy local color.

I spent many hours at Wakulla Springs, a half hour south of Tallahassee where I grew up, and I always saw its old-Florida charm as unique and a bit strange. Now, after the protagonist’s best friend is murdered there  in Mercedes Wore Black, I don’t think I’ll ever see this home of snake birds, limpkins, turtles, and icy cold water the same again.

Highly recommended. See the full review here.


Malcolm R. Campbell’s Florida short stories include “Moonlight and Ghosts,” (Tallahassee) “Cora’s Crossing,” (Marianna) “Emily’s Stories,” (St. Marks)  and “The Land Between the Rivers.” (Tate’s Hell Swamp) His novel “The Seeker” includes major scenes at Alligator Point and Tate’s Hell.


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