Aimee and David Thurlo Mystery, intrigue, and family values ™


Aimee’s Obituary

Aimée Salcedo Thurlo
On the morning of February 28, 2014 Aimée passed away peacefully at home after a brief struggle with cancer and related complications. She was attended by her husband of 43 years, David. Aimée was 62 years old.

Aimée, the youngest of two daughters born to Armando and Silvia Salcedo, was born on June 1st, 1951 in Havana, Cuba. At the age of 7, Aimée and her older sister Silvia fled the Castro regime with their parents and settled in Miami, Florida. Her mother died soon thereafter.


After her father, an electrical engineer, remarried, Aimée became a boarder and student at Ursuline Academy in Arcadia, Missouri. Her quarters were just down the hall from a curtain that separated the young women from a cloistered area. This was an environment that would prove valuable to her future career as a published author.

Aimée graduated from high school in 1969 after transferring to Ursuline Academy in New Orleans. She entered LSU New Orleans as a freshman, but, hampered by life-threatening asthma, was forced to seek a less stressful environment. She transferred to the University of Albuquerque (now St. Pius X High School) in 1970. After a few months, she moved in with a roommate near the University of New Mexico campus and her friend introduced her to David Thurlo, their next door neighbor. It was love at first sight, and after only a month, Aimée and David were married.

Aimée left college and worked as a bookkeeper at a hardware store, then Clover Club Foods, while David completed his degree. Never one to back down on a challenge, Aimée got the Clover Club job on a bluff and taught herself to use an adding machine by practicing on a drawing of the key configuration. When David graduated Aimée obtained her American citizenship and decided she wanted a career of her own.

After unsuccessful attempts working as a receptionist at an employment agency then an optometrist's assistant, Aimee was inspired to write. She sat down with legal pad and pencil and began writing a romantic intrigue novel. She soon discovered David, now a teacher at APS, looking over her shoulder. With her permission he jumped in and began editing her work. After the book was completed, Aimée sent out a proposal, which was quickly rejected. Again it was Aimée's refusal to admit defeat that led to her success. 60 rejections later an offer came from a New York editor and the first book was sold. With David's editorial support, Aimée worked up two new books proposals, and with a track record now, they found a new publisher.

The next book that Aimée wrote and David edited made a national bestseller list. From that moment on, the two partners were never without a book contract. Led by Aimée, who usually wrote the first draft of each new project, the couple discovered that they could write with one voice, and their combined efforts resulted in books characterized by the unique stamp that defined their partnership in life and work.

Aimée was the lead author writing the first two drafts on all those novels where her name appears alone or first on the cover. These are the vast majority of the duo's works over the next thirty years. In addition to many romantic suspense novels, including 36 for Harlequin, the Thurlos have written three successful mystery series, each featuring a very different primary investigator. In the Sister Agatha series, the `cozy' mysteries are solved by an extern nun - which reflect back to Aimée's years as a student and boarder at Ursuline Academy. The Lee Nez series, which David wrote and Aimée edited, featured a partnership between a New Mexico state policeman who happens to be half-vampire, and a Hispanic woman FBI agent.

Their flagship series of 17 hardcover Ella Clah police procedurals, ending with a November, 2013 title, Ghost Medicine, was set on the Navajo Reservation where David grew up. Ella Clah is a Special Investigator for the Navajo Police Department. With these novels, the Thurlos were more equal partners, relying on their complimentary strengths. The Ella Clah series was optioned by CBS Productions, but, alas, Ella Clah did not make it to network television.

Aimée and her husband's books have been read by millions of readers, and their novels have been translated and sold worldwide in more than 18 countries. Their work has been widely praised by reviewers and critics and have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Among Aimée's many accolades are the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, a Willa Cather Award for Contemporary Fiction, and the New Mexico Book Award for Mystery and Suspense. She and her husband have also made Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders national bestseller lists. Their Lee Nez half-vampire series was optioned by a Hollywood production company as a feature film prospect.

Just a few months prior to her death, Aimée and her partner completed the final volume in their Harlequin Intrigue Copper Canyon series, Eagle's Last Stand. and began revising Looking into Darkness. This is the second hardcover romantic suspense novel in their new trading post series destined for publication in 2015.

Aimée's dedication and drive were so strong, even when confined to bed, that she and David worked on laptops side by side for over a month until she had to put it aside, rest, and allow her husband to take notes to finish the revisions. Mrs. Thurlo's works will live on, however. Four books already completed will be published in the next two years, including the above, plus Undercover Warrior and the second story in the Charlie Henry series, ironically named Grave Consequences, which David wrote and Aimée edited.

Aimée's life was not all work. She was an enthusiastic animal lover and, over the years she kept a bull snake, mice, many domestic rats (including two rescues) and two horses, one of them a BLM mustang. Aimée took dressage and hunter jumper training from a Corrales trainer and rode for many years along the ditch banks, bosque, and her own arena.
Though she suffered from asthma, she found and raised two American Staffordshire Terriers, Clouseau and Chloe, an injured puppy at the shelter about to be put down. Chloe watched over Aimée for thirteen years. Aimée also found a German shepherd-cross puppy living under a tumbleweed near the FAA radar facility, and despite her wheezing, kept the animal. Marcy lived ten more years and was the most loyal dog anyone could imagine.

At one time Aimée owned five dogs, mostly poodles adopted from the Roswell Humane Society, her favorite charity. Just a week prior to her death, her latest rescue, a large standard poodle named Gabriel from South Carolina, succumbed to stomach cancer. Aimée and her office companion were inseparatable. The dog was by her side until the day before he died. Her two remaining poodles, Marlowe and Ella, now keep David company.

Aimée was driven by her need to prove her worth and make her contribution to society, but she was very outgoing in public and made easy connections with those she met. She will be missed not only by those who knew her, but by the millions who fell in love with the characters in her books. Aimée Salcedo Thurlo was preceded in death by her mother Silvia Berndes Salcedo, father Armando Salcedo, and sister Silvia Salcedo Rodriguez.

Aimée is survived by her beloved husband, David. A private remembrance will be held for close friends and family. For her many friends and readers, condolences and personal comments may be made on Facebook or through the website at

Comments (17) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I feel this is truly “the dream”… not just literary or financial success, but to be able to do what you love with the one you love working beside you. Thank you for showing me “the dream” can be real. We’ll be sure to stay in touch, David.

    P. S.–I truly believe that Gabriel wanted to go ahead and be there to greet his best buddy when she passed into eternity… make sure she knew she wouldn’t be alone while she waited on the rest of her family to join them where there will never be tears or parting again!

  2. A life well-lived. Thank goodness your work will endure.

  3. What a loss! Even though I never met Aimee in person, through correspondence via Facebook I considered her a friend, and I am so saddened by her passing much too early in her life. She had so much to offer, and my condolences go to David.

  4. Wonderful job, David, and a very fitting obituary.
    We will all miss her, just as I know you will.

  5. An amazing life and an amazing lady. She will truly be missed. Rest in peace, Aimee.

  6. I was so sorry to hear that Aimee was no longer with us. I meet Aimee thorough her books and Facebook. I appreciated her kindness and friendship. We sent each other Christmas Cards. She also sent me bookmarkers that she autographed and I put them in a frame so they would not get destroyed and they are my keepsakes. She also sent me two books that she autographed the last two Christmases. They were great stories and once I finished them I wrapped them up to preserve them. They will be with me as they are another keepsake. I will miss receiving her books in my book shipments from Harlequin. She will always be missed by this reader. She provided me with countless hours of enjoyment. My heart goes out to David. She is and was a terrific individual. Margaret Bigney xoxoxo

  7. Dear David This is a rough time for you, but know that many friends are with you in prayers and good thoughts.
    I’m glad that you two had the long life together that you did, and for all the books you worked on together and gave to us.
    I’ll miss her like a relative, and I will keep you in my prayers.
    Carol J Dewing

  8. Thank you for writing that. I would have loved to have seen her this winter. I wanted to tell her we are moving To Costa Rica and see her before we left or try to tease you both into visiting us there. We leave soon and all I can tell you is that she will always have a place in my heart and I will keep you In my prayers.

  9. This a wonderful tribute to a very special woman. I discovered her when I worked at Waldnbooks and kept up with her on Facebook. I will miss her and the dialogues we had. Thank you Aimee for all the joy you brought. May you always walk in beauty. I will remember you always!

  10. David,
    So sorry to learn of Aimee’s passing. Have certainly enjoyed the Ella Clah series! We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

    Bill & Peggy

  11. I was devistated by the news that Aimee Thurlo had passed on. I recently found her series of Ella Clah and was looking to see if there were anymore Ella Clah books. The last one I have was published in 2011. I will check at our local library to see if they have any past 2011. I’m also going to look into the other series that she and David wrote. Aimee, you were a brilliant author and will be sorely missed by those who enjoyed your wonderful books, not to mention your family and the many friends I know you must have had. David, to you and your family, my deepest sympathies. Forever a fan, Jeanie Wherry, Lafayette Colorado.

  12. David I loved her just like a sister in law. She will be deeply missed. My thoughts band prayers are with you during this time. All the family is mourning her loss. You two were always together. May the Lord comfort you and help you find peace. Love you all. May you know I’m here for all of you.

    • Becky, good to hear from you. I really appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and that you knew how much Aimee and I meant to each other. Certainly she’s in a better place, but still in our hearts.

  13. What a beautiful person she is, I have enjoyed reading the many books you both have written. May she walk with God, and have the freedom to breath free and clear.

    • Ginny, thanks so much for your kind words. Nothing made a day brighter for Aimee than hearing from someone who enjoyed our stories. And yes, finally she can breath and smell the sweet scents in a perfect world.

  14. Just wanted to express my deepest condolences at the loss of Aimee. I have followed her Ella Clah mysteries since they first came out. For Christmas I asked my family for nothing more than to complete a few books I didn’t have. What I don’t have in hard copy I have on my kindle. (Some Duplicates because I don’t want my books to look damaged.)
    Aimee will always live in our minds and hearts. Thank you Aimee for all the hours of joy and fun you have given us.
    Dodie Vasquez

    • I’m happy that you’ve enjoyed our Ella books. All we wanted was to entertain readers with our stories, and if they learned a little more about the world Ella and I grew up in, so much the better. For the first time now, all our books are available again, new, if not hard or softcover, then in ebook form. That took a while. Yesterday, I was speaking to the owner of Treasure House Books during the booksigning by Amy Bennett, and the man told me that when people have read all the Hillerman books, he points to our Ella Clah mysteries and says `now try these.’ Made my day.

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