A mayhem-on-the-mesa mystery by mega-selling genre author Lowell (The Color of Death, 2004, etc.).
Carly May is a genealogist who can read a mitochondrial DNA sequencing chart as readily as she can sort out a family tree. Dan Duran is a lone ranger type, a New Mexico native skilled at following money as it flows in and out of the pockets of crooks and bad guys. (He’s also, it turns out, skilled at giving lonely genealogists what no man has ever done before.) The two find themselves together in the wake, literally, of a senator and local grandee who has, it seems, fathered half of northern New Mexico’s population, and not always with the legal consent of the mother. The senator’s widow knows a story or two, as does her sister, who didn’t much approve of the old man—among whose offspring are some surprises, as well as an apple-of-the-eye grandson (“The Senator kept seeing himself in you, smiling at the thought of you drinking and screwing your way through life”) and a presumptive heir now ready to trade governorship of the state up to the presidency. This dysfunctional extended family is only dimly aware that it’s family, but it’s keenly aware of the Chinatown-like secrets that are not for outsiders to know, and Carly is an outsider extraordinaire in clannish Taos. At first it’s a little vandalism of her SUV office-on-wheels, “shreds and chunks of tread . . . scattered around like pieces of black flesh.” Then it’s a recorded greeting-card warning her to split. Then it’s a bullet whistling in her direction. Who would go to such lengths, and to protect what information? Therein hangs Lowell’s tale, full of mostly accurate local color and never quite predictable. Suffice it to say that readers convinced that the only way to look at a politician is down aren’t going to have their minds changed here.
Skillfully handled entertainment, with a bonus in reader-friendly lessons in how to launder money, spike a drink and read a genomics report.