“FREE **** An Amazon reviewer said about this book that he stopped reading after the first few paragraphs because the narrator/protagonist, Undersheriff Bill Gastner, is old and fat. I'm ashamed to say I nearly had the same reaction, but I kept reading. The reviewer's loss, my gain. I enjoyed this book.
Gastner is the anti-hero's anti-hero. He eats too much of the wrong stuff, he smokes, and he's made no effort to build any kind of life for himself outside of his work. As the book opens, he's afraid that the newly-elected glad-handing Sheriff is going to squeeze him out of the department.
But author Havill doesn't slide into cliche. The new Sheriff is a political animal, not a cop, but rather than try to eliminate the older, more-experienced lawman, he acknowledges his own limitations and throws all his support behind Gastner.
I like the way Havill writes Gastner. His investigation is slow, plodding, unflappable, and inexorable, just the way you'd expect an old lawman to operate. The plot isn't slow and plodding, though. It moves right along, all the while giving us a good look at New Mexico and its history.
Lots of memorable characters and local color and an unexpected but completely believable climax I really enjoyed.
First of the Posadas County series. Don't miss it!