As The Drummers: A Josie Gray Mystery by Tricia Fields begins, it is January in Artemis, Texas, and cold with overcast skies. The cold snap is not something Police Chief Josie Gray or any of the other locals want as they prefer the sunshine and warmth the rugged and of southwest Texas near the Big Bend region normally provides. They want the cold and nasty weather gone. Many of the locals also want the new group known as “The Drummers” to leave.


The group recently brought the church in the heart of the small town, moved in, and made it clear they were not going to socialize much if at all. In recent days, the group has been acting stranger and stranger and the locals are getting increasingly fed up and want them gone. The memory of what happened in Waco decades ago still lingers in the minds of anyone in office and that is certainly true for Chief Gray.


A small group of a little more than twenty people, they are led by a man who now goes by the name of “Gideon.” While he claims they only want to live off the grid and want nothing to do with technology of the United States Government, the locals think they are a dangerous commune at best or a cult at worst. Not only do they have small children in the church when the windows have been painted black and all the outside door knobs and handles have been removed, they have guns. A lot of guns are being stockpiled inside the building and far more than the number of folks living there. Clearly, the group is planning for something big, but what nobody knows.


The last thing Police Chief Josie Gray wants is another Waco style siege and assault in her town. But what The Drummers want is unknown as signs indicate more and more that they might be some sort of Doomsday type group bent on creating havoc. The fact that they can identify one member who has a warrant for charges means they have that legal way to enter. Unfortunately, gunfire erupts, a member of The Drummers is killed, and what starts as a local issue quickly escalates with ramifications across our entire country.


Complicated and enjoyable as ever, this book marks a long awaited return of Police Chief Josie Gray and the good folks of Artemis, Texas. Much like author Bill Crider, Terry Shames, and Frank F. Havill did in their books, author Tricia Fields built an entire series on a fictional place that is very real to the reader. In this series, family and relationships as well as characters that evolve and change from book to book are just as important as the mystery case is in the read. It has been far too long since Midnight Crossing was published and this reader is very thankful that seven house brought readers back to the Southwest desert country of Texas via Police Chief Josie Gray. As always, a love of the land and the people that reside there comes through as does another very good mystery that packs in quiet a few surprises along the way. Highly recommended as is the series.




The Drummers: A Josie Gray Mystery

Tricia Fields

Severn House

March 2021

ISBN # 978-0-7278-9247-8

Hardback (also available in audio and eBook formats)

240 Pages




My reading copy came by way of the Dunbar Branch of the Dallas Library System.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2021

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