Steven F. Havill
Poisoned Pen, Jan 4 2011, $24.95
In Posadas County, New Mexico, nine year old Francisco explains to his mother undersheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman that he and his fourteen years old friend Butch Romero found a snake on the arroyo. They battered the western diamondback but not before the rattler bit Burch in the eye. Besides the venom, a fang was caught in the eye. Butch is airlifted to the hospital.
Not long after that Butch’s eighteen year old brother Freddy drives his ATV off the bank of an arroyo while apparently doing joyriding cartwheels. However, just before he went over the edge, Freddy apparently found a human skull that Esther and her team including her retired predecessor Bill Gastner believe is the remains of an unsolved five years old murder case.
The latest Posadas County police procedural (see Discount for Death and Red, Green, or Murder) is the usual terrific entry in what has been for years one of the best series the sub-genre has to offer. The law enforcement officials are dedicated cops diligently doing their job while dealing with an assortment of people some overtly hostile. With much more going on than just the Romero brothers’ subplot and with the inquiries providing insight into the land and the people, fans will relish the return to New Mexico for this enchanting tale.