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Thursday, September 29, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Missing in Mexico by Stuart Gustafson

TITLE: Missing in Mexico
AUTHOR: Stuart Gustafson
FORMAT: Paperback, 271 pages
GENRE: Mystery Tourism
ISBN: 978-0977172726


"Missing in Mexico" is Stuart Gustafson's debut mystery tourism novel. Private Investigator Stan W. is hired to find a college freshman who’s missing after a family vacation in Los Cabos, Mexico. Even with local help and some promising leads, he’s unable to find her and returns home to inform the hurting parents. Months later he receives a mysterious letter and jumps on the next plane to Los Cabos. Will this be the break that he needs to find her? Or will she remain missing – Missing in Mexico?

As America’s International Travel Expert™, Stuart Gustafson has flown over 1,000,000 miles to 27 different countries. Come travel with him and learn some of the language as he takes you to the most southern point on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula – Los Cabos. Be careful, though, as you might get hooked on the travel, the intriguing story, and the charm of the places where he takes you! And if you like it there, you might want to book your next vacation in Los Cabos – where he spends several weeks each year.

“You express your feelings with great initiative and very truthful statements. It gives us a chance to let our future tourists know what and how they will enjoy their vacation. Not only will they learn how beautiful San José del Cabo is, but how the people will help them during their stay.”
Réne Nuñez Cosio,
Mayor of Los Cabos

“The story’s so real I felt like I was right there!”
Jess Todtfeld,
Former Producer for ABC, NBC, and FOX


I received this book for review from the author as part of his virtual book tour. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

Sarah Johnson, a 19 year-old college freshman, is vacationing with her parents and best friend (Mary) in Los Cabos, Mexico. Her parents return to the United States, but Sarah and Mary stay behind for another week to enjoy some time alone before they return to college. Sarah and Mary are getting ready to board the plane to return, but Sarah turns back and tells Mary that has to go back into one of the stores to get something for her parents. Sarah never does return to the plane, and the flight returns to America without her.

Stan Walkorski is a Private Investigator, who is hired by Robert and Tina Johnson (Sarah's parents) to find Sarah. He is a pretty likeable character, and it is evident that he cares about the cases he works on. He flies to Los Cabos to try to pick up Sarah's trail.

Gustafson does a fantastic job describing Los Cabos in vivid detail. As I was reading, I could picture each scene in my mind. There were times, however, that I felt that there was too much time spent on extraneous details not integral to the story. For example, there was a lot of time spent on describing the Art District, and I felt like I was reading a Fodor's Travel Guide!

Overall, I did enjoy the story but I felt the pace of the story was a little bit slow. There were also a few things that I didn't find believable. Firstly, what kind of a best friend is Mary to leave Los Cabos without Sarah? If I had been on that plane, I would have either ensured that the plane did not take off or I would have gotten off to remain in Los Cabos to look for my friend. There also was a point in the story when Sarah's parents were getting ready to head out for dinner and the phone rang, and Robert told Tina not to pick it up. My first question was also Tina's: What if it is Sarah calling? Robert's response was that Sarah wouldn't be calling on a Friday night because she knows that is the night they go out for dinner. I'm a mom, and I have a hard time buying that a mother wouldn't be frantic with worry over her missing child and not rush to answer the phone every time it rang! And Robert's response did not make any sense to me. If your child is missing and in trouble, he or she may not care or even realize that it is the night her parents go out to dinner!! Towards the end of the book, Stan tries to reach the Johnson residence by phone and there is no answer. If my child was missing and I had a PI on the case, I would have the land line transferred to my cell phone so that I was always reachable 24/7! Lastly, I was quite surprised that Stan not only charmed one lady but two! It seemed unrealistic to me that he was holding hands, hugging, and kissing not just Carmelita but also Sara (not the missing girl - this is a different one) so soon after meeting them. 

My favourite character of all was Carmelita, and I was disappointed that things did not turn out differently for her and Stan. Their relationship seemed to end rather abruptly, and Stan had developed supposedly strong feelings for her but then seemed to move right along to Sara!

I thought that Gustafson did a great job for a debut novel, and I have a feeling that his next novel will be even better!

MY RATING: 3 stars! It was good! I enjoyed it!!

This book qualifies as:


  1. My thoughts on this book match yours, but overall I enjoyed it a lot.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Vicki! Who was your favourite character?


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