cover image Lost in a Place So Small

Lost in a Place So Small

Rick Collignon. Bower House, $17 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-942280-66-8

Collignon’s quietly atmospheric fourth entry in the Will Sawyer series (after Perdido) shifts between horror and magical realism for a story of crime in a remote New Mexico village. Will has lived for the past 30 years in Guadalupe and is still the only gringo around, and he’s hired by elderly villager Manuela García to fix up her grandfather’s ramshackle house. Meanwhile, Will’s wife, Estrella and her sister, Monica, are writing their Nana’s stories for a family history. The two women divulge some shocking memories of Manuela’s grandfather, who raped Manuela for decades until he died. Then a neighbor tells Will about a twin brother, Benito, who disappeared as a child. As soon as Will begins work on the house, he discovers the skeleton of a child—and then another one—hidden within one of the walls. Will’s partner urges him to tell Manuela what he’s found and to abandon the project, but he persists and finally brings repose to Benito’s troubled ghost and—as a direct consequence, it seems—rain to the drought-stricken countryside, though the plot thickens with revelations about the second skeleton. The descriptions of the land and its people set the scene indelibly, though things end without much resolution. Still, series fans will look forward to the next installment. (Jan.)