This 20th chapter in the crime annals of Posadas County, New Mexico, brings Undersheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman (One Perfect Shot, 2012, etc.) up against demons past and present.
The search for whomever took a shot at Sheriff Robert Torrez from several hundred yards away and missed him by 10 inches ends with the discovery of one Miguel A. Quesada, whose Jeep is carrying a rifle that looks like the perfect candidate for the weapon. But Quesada’s in no position to clear up the mystery since he’s been shot to death himself. Nor is Estelle in a much better position; since she found her much-loved old colleague, retired Sheriff Bill Gastner, crouching helpless on the cement floor of his own garage with a broken hip, she’s devoted herself to getting him swift and comprehensive care, despite her department’s needs and crusty Gastner’s brusque demands to leave him alone. Even getting Gastner to a hospital doesn’t free up Estelle, because a series of apparently unrelated phone warnings alerts her to possible extortion and kidnapping threats against her son, Francisco, who’s playing a concert in Mexico with an equally gifted friend from Missouri’s Leister Academy. The threats against Francisco eventually bring Estelle face to face with enigmatic Benedicte Mazón, who claims to be her long-lost uncle. Is it possible that this aging jailbird, who manages to escape from police custody, could hold the key to both the gaps in Estelle’s knowledge of her own early years and the shooting of Bobby Torrez?
The family-secrets angle makes this leisurely episode most likely to appeal to fans less invested in the nominal mystery than in the long narrative arc supplied by the extended family of Posadas County, in which everyone seems to be related to everyone else by blood or spirit.