|Steven F. Havill: Out of Season|
Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press Minotaur (Hardback), ISBN 0-312-24414-2
A plan crashes, killing the pilot and his passenger, the sheriff of Posadas County, N.M. The county appoints 68-year-old, over-weight, and ready-to-retire undersheriff Bill Gastner as acting sheriff. With the temporary promotion comes the job of finding out why the sheriff (who hated flying) and his brother-in-law (a pilot who lived in Canada), were flying in such rough terrain in a high wind.
Then Bill discovers the former sheriff, who generally preferred administrative work to detecting, spent his last days taking pictures of fences lines, stone houses, dismantled windmills and antelopes. The sheriff's unlikely behavior bothers Bill almost as much as the "big picture" questions: why the plane crashed, who fired to shot the killed the pilot and why?
To compound Bill's problems, a known eccentric reported the crash. The new sheriff's brilliant chief of detectives plans to move out of the county in a week. Bill's brand new dispatcher knows more about photography than she does about police radio protocol. The FBI is stepping on the toes of some local ranchers -- and one or two of them are stepping back. Maybe even shooting back.
This book's sharp, concise writing and characterization delighted me. Wise, weary, compassionate and patient Bill appreciates those around him. The plot builds and builds, but it also plays it straight, hiding nothing. The reader gets each new piece of evidence when Bill does. If you need of a restful evening and a really good read, may I suggest you grab Out of Season, settle down in a comfortable chair, and enjoy.
Patricia White is the Sapphire Award-winning author of A Wizard Scorned. Her current book, the western Edwina Parkhurst, Spinster, is available from Hard Shell Word Factory.
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