Shadow of the Raven

David Sundstrand, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne $24.95 (307p) ISBN 978-0-312-36135-8

Bureau of Land Management officer Frank Flynn goes looking for bighorn sheep, but finds the bloated corpse of a poacher, left to die without shoes or water, in Sundstrand's well-crafted debut set in the Mojave Desert. Frank teams with reporter Linda Reyes to investigate. Their search for the murderer parallels that of the victim's brothers—Roy, Hickey and Jason Miller—a trio of unrepentant, unwashed misfits whose detecting methods leave a trail of death and destruction. Roy and company mistake Flynn for an illegal guide and force him to lead them into the canyon to hunt down the wealthy trophy hunter likely responsible for their brother's demise, but these skillfully painted lowlifes wend their way to their inevitable and poetically just deserts. Sundstrand's rugged half Irish, half Native American protagonist as well as the unforgiving desert setting will appeal to fans of western mysteries like Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon series and C.J. Box's Joe Picket novels. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/18/2006
Release date: 02/01/2007
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-250-00543-4
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4299-3558-6
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