Two war veterans find that their special ops skills come in unexpectedly handy back stateside in Albuquerque, N.M.
Only after purchasing the Three Balls pawnshop do Navajo Charlie Henry and his Anglo buddy Gordo Sweeney discover that former owner Diego Baza has wiped the computers. The records they need may be in a safe for which they have no combination or key. Charlie’s high school girlfriend Gina, now an attorney, agrees to meet Baza and hand over money for the information. That’s the extent of the good news. Charlie and Gordy watch from a distance as drive-by shooters take out Baza, with Gina as collateral damage. Gordy stays to help while Charlie races after the escaping killers. Gina’s roommate, Nancy, a police officer, gives them inside information to help them track down the killers while Gina slowly recovers. Since Baza was obviously the target, accessing his records may help uncover a motive. He had been stripping the business of cash, selling guns illegally and shopping for plane tickets for two adults and a child to Costa Rica. One of Baza’s former employees—a lovely woman with a young son and a reason to fly under the radar—has vanished. The dangerous duo soon become involved in gunfights with rival gangs as they track down the mystery woman and try to discover the motive for the pawnbroker’s murder.
Fans of the Sister Agatha and Ella Clah mysteries (Ghost Medicine, 2013, etc.) will find the Thurlos’ new series kickoff more thriller than mystery, though there’s still a touch of the trademark Navajo lore.