|Allana Martin: Death of a Myth Maker|
Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover),
Set on the border between Texas and Mexico, Death of a Myth Maker, the fourth book starring Texana and her veterinarian husband Clay, seldom runs short of action, quirky characters, or plot convolutions. The setting should be listed as one of the characters, major and quirky, because I doubt this particular book could have taken place elsewhere.
Draught conditions prevail. After a photographer breathes his last in the parking lot, a brush fire jumps the Rio Grande and roars up to engulf the trading post. Texana, Clay and Clay's sister take refuge in the Paisano Hotel in Marfa where they meet the myth maker, and Clay inadvertently partakes of peyote.
Shortly thereafter, Julian Row dies. One of seven eccentric sisters begs Texana to warn the possible killer so he can flee the state. Texana investigates on her own. The local police practically accuse her of dealing in drugs. The smoke from the brush fire leaves an image of the Blessed Virgin on the outside wall of the trading post. Soon pilgrims arrive to establish a shrine and worship the image.
An enjoyable read, if little irritating at times, Death of a Myth Maker involves the reader a little too much in the "frontier culture" of Texana's home town, where cultures and language mix, but the inhabitants remain insular. For myself, I would prefer less Spanish or more definitions.
But I did like Phoebe, the pet wildcat. She truly saves the day -- and the book.
Patricia White is the Sapphire Award-winning author of A Wizard Scorned. Her current book, the contemporary PS, I've Taken a Lover, is available from Lionhearted Books.
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