Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bitter Recoil

You can take a lawman out of his home county, but you can't take him out of law enforcement. That could be the subtitle of Steven F. Havill's second Posadas County mystery, Bitter Recoil.

Undersheriff Bill Gastner is supposed to be resting after surgery, so he visits former deputy Estelle Reyes, now married to Dr. Francis Guzman, and working in another New Mexico County. Maybe it's because Estelle is pregnant herself, but the rape and murder of a young pregnant woman, throw from a truck, makes her determined to find the killers. And, she's equally determined to save the young woman's daughter, found living in a hippie camp. It's easy to rope Gastner into the investigation. And, once more people are murdered, it would be impossible to get Gastner and Reyes-Guzman off the case.

Bitter Recoil is not one of Havill's strongest books. With its complicated plot, and complex motives, this book drags at the end. However, it's worth reading Bitter Recoil for Havill's fascinating leads, Gastner and Reyes-Guzman, with their own intriguing characters. And, for those of us who feel compelled to read every book in the series, Bitter Recoil is a must-read to keep up with the lives of Bill and Estelle.

Bitter Recoil by Steven F. Havill. Poisoned Pen Press, published 2000. ISBN 9781890208400 (paperback), 192p.

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