cover image Immortal


Dean Crawford. Touchstone, $24.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4516-5948-1

British author Crawford’s second speculative thriller featuring Ethan Warner, with its cleverly introduced premise, improves on his debut, 2011’s Covenant. When New Mexico police respond to a report of a shooting on the Santa Fe Trail, they find the gunman, Hiram Conley, dressed in a ragged Civil War–era Union uniform and armed with a musket. Conley’s wounded victim, Tyler Willis, cries, “Don’t kill him! He’s too old to die,” just before the police shoot Conley in self-defense. The autopsy bears out Willis’s cryptic assessment. The body has mummified overnight and bears other traces indicating that Conley was born long before his claimed birth year of 1940. After the corpse and the ME who studied it disappear, the matter comes to the attention of Warner and his partner, Nicola Lopez, bail bondsmen recruited by the Defense Intelligence Agency to investigate. Assured pacing and plotting make up for underdeveloped characters. Agent: Luigi Bonomi, Luigi Bonomi Associates. (Jan.)