Quote of the Week

"The key is to commit crimes so confusing that police feel too stupid to even write a crime report about them."
Randy K. Milholland, Something Positive Comic
10-30-03. Web Comic Pioneer

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman

Sinister Pigs, Navajo customs, drug dealing, exotic hunting and a stalled love affair made this book by prolific author Tony Hillerman a real education as well as entertainment.
Although the characters and some parts of the plot (Navajo customs and love affair) are part of a continuing saga, the book is perfectly understandable as a stand alone. Set in New Mexico on the Mexico border, everything about the setting adds to the interest of the story. Drug running in Mexico is a big story in the news as is the violence associated with it. The Navajo customs and personality traits, make the characters believable.
Hunting for fun and profit is not an American Indian trait and secrecy about a ranch specializing in the sport draws the attention of at least one border patrol officer, to the detriment of her personal safety. While her former boss becomes more and more convinced of the danger faced by his almost love and former fellow officer, scoundrels abound from as far away as Washington, D.C. Add to this a variety of corpses, unlikely retirees returning to work and it sums up to a great adventure and the mystery of who exactly the villain is remains a secret to the end.
But it was the pigs that amazed me the most. These are not the type of pigs that grace many a dinner table, but rather those that in mechanical form are threaded through pipelines to ensure the line is clear. Enough said. More details in this high adventure tale, will explain how this is critical.
Author, Tony Hillerman, has won every possible award in the mystery genre. The shear number make it impossible to list them all but a visit to Harper-Collins website will tell the story. Hillerman has published 29 books, 17 featuring Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. To read the series in order, visit http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/ click on “H” on the author tab and the books will be listed by year. These books are readily available in most libraries and at locations such as Amazon.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Death Roe" by Joseph Heywood

Dear blog readers, if you can indulge me a short story...at a book show 2-3 years ago I was getting signed books from this guy called Charlie Moore who wrote about fishing.   I had no clue who this guy was and just helping out my bookstore owner friend to get signed books.   After talking to people and viewing an entourage worthy of a Hollywood celebrity I met fisherman and tv personality Charlie Moore, who could not figure me out.   I basically told him "I don't fish."  After some smiling brightly and putting me on camera with the book, I got a couple books and one signed to my brother-in-law who does fish and was thrilled with the gift.  In choosing Death Roe by Joseph Heywood, I wasn't sure I really wanted to read about fish. This series dubbed the "Woods Cop Mystery" series, you find yourself in the upper peninsula of Michigan wedged between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.  Grady Service is a detective for Michigan Upper Peninsula's Department of Natural Resources.  The story begins on the Carp River in Mackinac County, Michigan. He gets a tip that valued salmon roe is being mixed with poorer quality bait roe in order to be sold high on the dollar in markets around the world.  Adding to the subterfuge, the roe is supposedly contaminated with a chemical that can cause cancer.  Service is paired with a younger female detective named Denniger who is scrappy, capable, and attractive.  She creates some sexual tension with Service throughout the book, but is never realized.  Back to the notion that I don't fish, this is a well written mystery adventure that is as much about the beauty and natural resources of the upper Michigan peninsula. While the characters occasionally went out of the region to work the crime, it still remained true to the place and returned to it like a homing beacon.  Author Heywood, takes you on an interesting journey that includes the real world of fish poaching and how serious the government takes this crime.  This is the 6th in this series and I feel comfortable reading another and seeking the earlier books.   It is advertised for fans of Nevada Barr and Dana Stabenow.   As, I read the book, those authors immediately jumped into my head without the publisher's prodding.  I highly suggest you check out Heywood's webpage and blog.  The webpage http://www.josephheywood.com/ is a comprehensive and well written page with a lot of backup materials that support the stories.   Also Heywood writes a blog called joeroads.com.  That is more of a travelog and  I even found fish recipes.   I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  I found it fast paced and even though I still don't fish or want to, I would enjoy the exploits of Brady Service and will to find out what happens next.  This version was published by Lyons Press in Guilford, CT ear. Like many authors the paperback of the latest book comes out ahead of the newest hardcover. Check out yout local library and independent book stores for this great series that will take you to northern Michigan and a rich and beautful landscape with a great set of stories and characters.