Sunday, October 20, 2013

NightZone-Steven F. Havill


Steven F. Havill

Poisoned Pen, Oct 8 2013, $24.95

ISBN 9781464200700

Retired Posadas County Sheriff Bill Gastner can’t sleep so he goes outside to enjoy the view of the night sky. The septuagenarian notices a fire and that the power in the area is out. He calls it in and heads to the blaze approximately 20 miles from the mesa where he was stargazing. Once there, Gastner finds a corpse and carved up wooden power-line supports.

Although he knows better than to get involved, Gastner makes inquiries. A cop’s murder leads him to believe the arson, vandalism and two deaths relate to local rancher Miles Waddell’s dream of Nightzone; the astronomy-based theme park resort that many New Mexican environmentalists allied with anti-federalists oppose.

The key to this super Posadas County mystery (see One Perfect Shot) is the protagonist acts like a person who is seventy-four years old as he tires much quicker than when he was the sheriff. The key characters (besides family) are divided over the Nightzone development, but each group is populated by real people instead of casting 101 stereotypes. Steven F. Havill writes a strong timely investigative tale.

Harriet Klausner

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