Known for his legendary insomnia it would surprise no one to learn that retired Posadas County sheriff Bill Gastner is out and about somewhere in the county in the long hours of the night. This February night at one in the morning finds him on a rim rock of Cat Mesa wrapped up in a blanket looking at the stars and thinking about Bennett’s Trail and his recent discovery of a Colt single action revolver lodged in a nearby crevice. Along with the possible history of a legendary weapon, also on his mind is the upcoming concert by one of the children of Undersheriff Estelle Reyes Guzman and the fact that his small adobe home is going to serve as the host for the traveling faculty and stage crew in just a few days.
His thoughts are interrupted by two flashes of light far to the south more than at least 20 miles away. Over the next few minutes, Gastner sees what appears to be the start of a prairie wildfire as well as a pair of headlights going north on County Road 14. Whomever is on that stretch of gravel road seems to be fleeing where the building prairie wildfire started. Bill Gastner calls it in and then, like the police officer he was and to a certain extent still is, is drawn to where the action is as things rapidly escalate. Before long, Gastner is being second guessed by those who should know better, is a target of a psycho, and a wealthy rancher wants him for a job. Everybody wants a piece of him while all Gastner wants to do is stay out of it and listen to the music.
Steven F. Havill’s latest in the series now branded as The Posadas County Mysteries is another good one. Gastner takes primary stage, as he used to when this series first started with Heartshot, and reminds loyal readers just how good he can be. Much like Sheriff Dan Rhodes as envisioned by Bill Crider or Sheriff Walt Longmire by Craig Johnson, Bill Gastner is an old friend and very much welcome companion.
Nightzone: The Posadas County Mysteries reflects an author at the top of his game in a story that is full throttle from start to finish. Featuring a number of characters long familiar to series readers, the tale is of family just as much as crime. As always, the author’s love for the New Mexico landscape depicted in the fictional Posadas County is clear and detailed in yet another simply great read.
Nightzone: The Posadas County Mysteries
Steven F. Havill
Poisoned Pen Press
Material courtesy of the good folks of the Haggard Branch of the Plano Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2014