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Havill, Steven.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur, 2001.
Physical Description:
341 pages ; 22 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



Havill's much-loved Bill Gastner returns to face trouble in his own backyard in this new mystery by the author of Out of Season.

Author Notes

Steven F. Havill is the author of eight previous Sheriff Bill Gastner mysteries, as well as several westerns. This is Havill's last book in the series, but he is already at work on a new series in which Bill Gastner will make some appearances. He lives with his wife, Kathleen, in Lincoln, New Mexico.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In this transitional episode in the saga of Bill Gastner, reluctant sheriff of Posadas County, New Mexico, Havill answers two key questions: How will the series continue after Gastner, now 70, retires as sheriff? Will Estelle Guzman, formerly Gastner's second-in-command, return to Posadas and again assume a key role in the series? The answers emerge in the course of Gastner's turbulent last two days in office before his retirement. Prior to turning over the controls to Undersheriff Robert Torrez, Gastner must figure out why teenager Matt Baca was so intent on avoiding arrest for drunken driving that he attempted to escape and wound up being killed by oncoming traffic. Meanwhile, Gastner deals with multiple visitors to his usually tranquil adobe home, including his son and grandson and Guzman and her family. The quiet pleasures of small-town life are again at the center of this appealing series, as Gastner reaffirms his belief that even the encroaching evils of the modern world can be endured with the help of friends, family, and a properly prepared green-chile burrito. --Bill Ott

Publisher's Weekly Review

Low-key and laconic to the point of being almost comatose, this latest mystery featuring immensely likable New Mexico Sheriff Bill Gastner (after 2000's Dead Weight) coasts admirably on its folksy charm for most of the rambling narrative. Unfortunately, crime fans with even the slightest taste for action are going to be fidgeting after the first hundred sluggish pages. Bill is days from retirement when Matt Baca, a local teen, drives drunkenly into the back of his police car. Other drunken kids, who are in the car with Matt, are unharmed. Matt takes off, but once caught simmers down. Then he becomes irrationally violent and escapes from custody, only to be hit and killed by an oncoming truck driving close to the edge of the road. The job of telling Matt's father, a career drunk named Sosimo, falls to Gastner the next morning. But that sad conversation never takes place. The boy's father is found dead, perhaps from a heart attack, though there are signs of a struggle in Sosimo's tiny kitchen. For 150 pages after the second death precious little else happens. Gastner's son shows up in a Corvette, the old cop ponders a second career as a livestock inspector in a location apparently rife with rustling, while the mystery of Matt's two state identification cards preys on his mind. One ID is real, and one is clearly a fake. At the close there's a neat conclusion to a case that has ambled along at its own pace, like rolling tumbleweed in a gentle wind. (Nov. 19) FYI: Poisoned Pen Press this fall is reissuing two earlier novels in the series, Privileged to Kill and Prolonged Exposure. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved