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Three moon gifSt. Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover),ISBN: 0-312-25203-X
Over-weight, nearing 70 and an insomniac who actively hates the heat of his New Mexico county, Sheriff Bill Gastner might fall a little short of qualifying as the answer to a maiden's prayer. But slow and savvy wins the race, solves the mystery and brings the bad guys to justice, right? Well, that's how it's supposed to work. With the good sheriff, readers never know exactly what might happen until they read last entertaining page.

Book: Steven F. Havill, Dead WeightWhat can you expect to encounter in Dead Weight?

Quirky characters? Yes.

Mysterious letters accusing a deputy of nefarious deeds? That, too.

A furious landlady using a motor home to demand justice? Yep.

County politics (with a promise of down-and-dirty)? Absolutely.

Feuding marital partners? What else, but in this case, the fight gives rise to another question: Do marital feuds lead to murder? And I refuse to spoil the book by answering this one.

Book: Steven F. Havill, HeartshotAn accident that's far from accidental? Yes, but you could call it murder by tire (and you are going to have to read Dead Weight to find what that means).

An accidental teen pregnancy? Well, I suppose.

These diverse parts of the whole do not, at first glance, seem to possess much in common, but in Dead Weight they add up to murder. Sheriff Gastner excels at adding useless bits of information together until they make a cohesive whole. His brand of detecting might appear unorthodox, but it significantly reduces the number of unsolved crimes in Posadas County.

Dead Weight entertains, mystifies and will make a great winter read -- the descriptions of the heat alone will keep you warm. I enjoyed it immensely.

Patricia White

Patricia White is the Sapphire Award-winning author of A Wizard Scorned. Her recent contemporary PS, I've Taken a Lover, is available from Lionhearted Books . The Wandering Troll , an electronic magazine, began serializing her novel Prophecy Be Damned in April 2000. Her latest novel, the Eppie award-winning Legend of Lejube Rogue , is now available at Crossroads Publishing.

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