by Steven Havill brings back Undersheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman.
This is the 23rdbook in the Posadas County, New Mexico mystery
“I wrote Estelle as a savvy investigator. She started
out in the Sheriff’s Department at the age of twenty-one.
I think of her as tough, protective, and self-contained. She
is a hands-on officer who is very brave. But she is a very
private person who loves her family and has a good relationship
with her husband. I think people should read all the books
if they really want to get to know her.”
The story starts out with a gripping scene of a toddler wandering
down the highway on his Scamper. This type of scooter did
not protect him from exposure from the blizzardly elements.
His father had kicked him out of his truck because he did
not like the way the two-and-a-half year-old was behaving.
Found dead the sheriff’s office has its hands full as
it tries to determine if the father’s death was a suicide
or murder. Unfortunately, joy is not brought to the world
this Noel because others also turn up dead, with possible
murders piling up: a missing Forest Service tech, and his
girlfriend’s body. All these unrelated events come together
at the plot’s end.
Havill noted, “Firearms have been a part of my life
since I was four years old. I used to write westerns years
ago. After writing four of them the market collapsed. In 2006,
I enrolled in the famous gunsmithing school at Trinidad Sate
in Colorado when I was in my sixties and enjoyed it immensely.
Guns are fun to shoot, repair, and admire as works of art.
When a jerk uses a firearm for nefarious purposes they must
be dealt with, not the gun itself. I guess you can say I am
an ‘unpracticing’ gunsmith.”
This story combines a police procedural, a Christmas setting,
and a murder investigation. A dysfunctional family and community
problems, lies, and murder all play a huge role in finding
out what really happened.