As You Look

by Verónica Gutiérrez

Former LAPD cop-turned private investigator Yolanda Ávila blames herself for her mother’s death. If she’d only followed her cop instincts instead of the juju—her random prophetic dreams—the perpetrator would have been off the streets and her mother would still be alive. The only salve against her guilt is Yolanda’s vow to reject that juju crap, and to solve cases using only good solid detective work.

But when her godson is kidnapped and his parents are suspected of murder, Yolanda finds herself caught between what she feels and what she knows. And with the escalation of the case comes the escalation of her dreams.  Until she can no longer ignore their importance.

If she wants to overcome the guilt and deal with her pent-up grief, Yolanda must confront the juju and learn to trust its place in her life. If she doesn’t, she risks losing yet another loved one. And she can’t possibly let that happen.

A Yolanda Ávila Mystery.





In stock

Genre Mystery
Length 228 pages
Publication Date March 17, 2022
Publisher Bella Books
ISBN 9781642473445e
Editor Heather Flournoy
Cover Designer Kayla Mancuso and cover photo credit Abel Gutiérrez


GCLS Goldie Awards
As You Look — Finalist, Mystery/Thriller/Crime.


"I used to think that I wanted to write this book forever, but no, I’ve just wanted to tell this story for what seems like forever.

My manuscript reviewer once commented that the relationship between Yolanda and Sydney was one of the most authentic lesbian relationships she’d ever read and that it was the strongest part of the book.

My initial reaction was to swell with pride at her observation, happy that she “got it.” My second reaction was, Wait, this isn’t a romance novel, it’s a mystery.

That’s when I reminded myself that the story I’ve wanted to write was about a kick-ass, Latina lesbian private investigator who is in a healthy, loving relationship and not a broken person like so many mystery novel protagonists. Not perfect, but not broken either. Our QPOC community can really use that, especially in these times. Here’s hoping you’ll join me—and Yolanda—on this journey."

—Verónica Gutiérrez

  • A Bella Debut Novel.


Midwest Book Review
A finely crafted 'whodunnit' private eye style mystery, As You Look showcases author Veronica Gutierrez's remarkable talent for creating memorable characters, embedding them into an inherently compelling plot, and creating a gem of a read for dedicated fans of mystery and suspense.

Betty H. - The book is a true whodunit, not a romance. Yolanda and Sydney are happily married from the beginning of the tale, and although we do get to see some of their life together, the focus of the book is on the mystery. I’m happy to see that this is the beginning of what may end up a series of “Yolanda Avila Mysteries”. I will be looking forward to seeing more from this author and these characters.

Claire E. - Really entertaining crime book, with an ex-cop turned private investigator who receives messages from the spirit world. Yolanda fights this until she realises that it helped more than it hinders. I really liked the existing supportive relationship between her and her wife Sydney. I also really enjoyed being able to focus on the crime and the intricacies of the case without distraction.

Roxanne S. - It's great that more mystery and thrillers with a diverse cast are being published, and I keep finding wonderful new authors and characters to follow. Yolanda Ávila, a LA PI, as written by Verónica Gutiérrez is one. Yolanda is still laboring with the guilt she feels over her mother's recent death and is reluctant to see the bad dreams she has as anything but dreams when her godson is kidnapped. A former LAPD officer, forced to quit the force, she can ask questions and go places that the cops can't go, and they're not very happy that she seems to get the answers before them!

Great characterization and insight into the world of labor and unions in LA, I look forward to more stories starring Yolanda.

As You Look is a thrilling P.I. procedural, an uplifting window into an aspirational QPOC relationship, and a wonderful debut from a promising talent.

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