The killers from Zia Summer (1995) are down but not out. Tamara Dubronsky, the art heiress who ordered the death of p.i....

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RIO GRANDE FALL

The killers from Zia Summer (1995) are down but not out. Tamara Dubronsky, the art heiress who ordered the death of p.i. Sonny Baca's cousin Gloria Dominic, goes free when the principal witness against her, Veronica Worthy, falls from a hot-air balloon during Albuquerque's balloon festival. Madge Swenson, Sonny's old school friend in charge of the fiesta, produces some witnesses who say that Veronica was alone in the balloon, but Sonny finds a homeless family that saw someone else push her out--a man who can only be Veronica's husband Raven, the sorcerer Sonny had thought was killed. Two more murders of balloonists will link Raven to an elaborate drug-smuggling plot, the Medell¡n cartel, and the CIA; but the real story here is the fight to the death, and maybe beyond, between Raven, a ""lord from the underworld,"" and Sonny, whose miraculous nine lives--he's protected from Raven's worst by the power of a Zia medallion--may not be enough. Reaching into Raven's enchanted circle through his own guardian spirit, the coyote, Sonny provokes him to a series of magical duels whose derring-do stretches the conventions of the mystery to the breaking point, using them as a portal to another sort of mystery deeper than most authors can dream of. A fascinating hybrid of detective story, adventure yarn, and shamanistic magic that will infuriate some readers (identifying the triggermen in the drug killings turns out to be stunningly mundane) and captivate others.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 1996

ISBN: 0826344674

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Warner

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996