A disgraced police officer catches a cold case whose political overtones make it red hot.
Joe Evers’ life has been a mess since his wife died. Drinking made him botch a case, and his boss at the Bureau of Indian Affairs had demanded that he retire in three months when the remains of Congressman Arlen Edgerton’s car are found on the Navajo reservation, creating a firestorm of media interest. Edgerton, his secretary, Faye Hannaway, and his driver vanished more than 20 years ago. Now his wife, Grace Edgerton, is running for governor of New Mexico. She’s lived down the speculations that her husband ran off with Faye after collecting a bundle of dirty money, but new rumors threaten to sink her campaign. What’s left of the car has some bullet holes, and with help from the FBI, Joe, Navajo liaison Officer Bluehorse, and some search dogs find a body hidden nearby in a shallow grave. Tests show that the victim is the driver, leaving it still possible that Edgerton and Faye did run off. Joe tries to hold his life together for the sake of his daughter, a college student. But he finds it hard to quit drinking, and his team at BIA, even his old partner, has lost all trust in him. Because the case has piqued his interest and everyone seems anxious to see him fail, Joe becomes determined to find the truth. When Bluehorse is killed in an ambush meant for Joe, he digs even deeper into a morass of crooked politicians, missing artifacts, wealthy collectors, and police officers on the take.
A fine debut from Fortunato, an FBI special agent who knows his way around police work. Plenty of red herrings, dark horses, and quirky characters hold your interest from beginning to end.