Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book Review: Red, Green, or Murder by Steven F. Havill

Red, Green, or Murder

It's a crime that I got this book for free. The author should be paid handsomely for this effort with every sale of Red, Green, or Murder. If you like police procedurals, and mysteries in general, this is an outstanding novel for you to read. While some mystery readers might like a faster paced story with harder punches, this one moseys along just right for the pace of life in Posadas County, New Mexico until the squeeze is put on the bad guys. There are so many pretenders out there with five-star ratings that the truly deserving books get lost like a voice of reason in a crowd. This novel is right at the top of the heap and needs to be read.

Steven F. Havill has written a thinking person's mystery that makes you follow along as former Posadas County Sheriff Bill Gaster gets roped and hog-tide (but without too much cajoling) into two investigations that really challenge his and undersheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman's powers of observations. The clues are so minute in the murder case that only McCloud might have been up to the task aside from these two to follow their common sense when things just don't add up. Some of the excruciating details might be tough on some readers, but that is marrow in the text for readers of police procedurals.

Simultaneously, they tackle a second case, which again shows the patience of the author and Gaster to keep looking at the clues and trying to out duel the thinking process of the bad guys. One of the nicest things about Havill's writing, is the attention given to the minor characters. Their ticks and daily goings-on are so well drawn, it is easy to believe Gaster's 30+ years as a Sheriff in this county and his knowledge of the people he served and protected. He knows the people, knows the place, and understands that investigations and justice sometimes gets accomplished in unconventional ways. And never discount the providence of luck built on the patience of experience to help find the villains. This story is top-notch in its genre and kept me reading long after the wife said, "Shut that light." (The only thing I didn't like was the title--oh, well.) This book earns its 5-star rating.

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