James C. Mitchell, Author . St Martin's Minotaur $23.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-31532-0

In Mitchell's strong follow-up to Lover's Crossing (2003), which introduced Tucson-based PI Roscoe Brinker, April Lennox, an idealistic, attractive young reporter for an L.A. alternative weekly, arrives in Tucson to interview an undocumented Mexican national who sneaked across the border to tell his story. Only trouble is, the man winds up dead before the meeting. Lennox attempts to enlist Brinker's help in investigating below the border. The detective, reluctant to get involved, initially refuses, but he finally agrees to accompany the reporter to Hermosillo. Just before they are set to leave, Brinker is called away to Phoenix to look for a missing girl. Lennox, anxious to get her story, makes the trip to Mexico alone to interview a relative of the slain man—not a good idea, as it turns out. Mitchell, a former attorney and journalism professor, knows the border region intimately and has created in Brinker a likable and complex character. While this book lacks the urgency and cohesiveness of the author's impressive debut, it is a gripping crime novel that should appeal to a wide audience. Agent, Esmond Harmsworth. (Oct. 29)

Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
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