cover image Blood Sweep: A Posadas County Mystery

Blood Sweep: A Posadas County Mystery

Steven F. Havill. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (306p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0389-3

In Havill’s engrossing 20th mystery set in New Mexico’s Posadas County (after 2013’s NightZone), cop Estelle Reyes-Guzman is so busy that she can’t take the persistent phone calls from her local bank. When she finally does, she gets her first hint that something’s wrong. Estelle’s 99-year-old mother, Teresa Reyes, has requested a cashier’s check for $8,000 drawn from her savings account. Teresa says that a colleague of Estelle’s, a colonel in the Mexican judiciales, requested the money. To add to her worries, Estelle’s younger son tells her that a man claiming to be her uncle called looking for his niece. The story line is satisfyingly complex, but the novel’s great strength is its well- rendered setting, from the opening description of a silent, motionless antelope to the evocation of a dry riverbed. The concluding note of empathy for the many people trying to cross the border is moving without being heavy-handed. (Apr.)