A former Arizona rodeo star–turned–private
eye takes on a plateful of cases that turn out to be different courses in the
same criminal banquet.
Rodeo Grace Garnet lives in the only habitable dwelling in the remnants of a planned community in an area called The Hole. Returning home with his old dog, he finds the body of a murdered Native American man. It’s the start of a dizzyingly complicated and life-changing series of cases. Ray Molina, the sheriff of Los Jarros County, is a wealthy man with a thinly stretched department in a county whose vast empty areas provide an easy path for illegals and drug traffickers to enter the country. Ray’s daughter, Sirena Rae, is a wild child Rodeo dumped after she shot his dog, though she still drops by to visit. Rodeo’s friend Luis Azul Encarnacion, who owns the local trading post, sets him up to investigate the drive-by shooting of Samuel Rocha in Tucson. Samuel’s grandmother wants to hire him to find the killer even though her whole family ignored Samuel in favor of his younger beauty-queen sister, who was killed in a hit-and-run. Probably the only person who did love Samuel is his lover, Ronald Rocha, a stone-cold killer and former special operations soldier whose erstwhile commanding officer is a wealthy man, a Tea Party candidate whose wife gets into the act by hiring Rodeo to find a missing manuscript after her brother dies of an overdose. Rocha threatens to kill Rodeo’s dog and then Rodeo himself if he doesn’t provide him with the name of Samuel’s killer. As Rodeo slowly unravels a tangled mass of clues, he finds to his amazement that all these cases are interconnected.
An outstanding first novel written with clarity and authority and featuring a Southwest whose spare beauty covers unspeakable crimes and a detective who’s tough, honorable and authentic to the core.