Cover image for The devil's hawk
The devil's hawk
Sipherd, Ray.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur, [2002]

Physical Description:
224 pages ; 22 cm
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For generations, the Devil's Hawk - El Halcon Satanico - has struck terror in the hearts of suspicious Mexicans. To those who see the great bird circling above them in the sky, they know that death will follow soon.
But is the bird really an emissary of the devil and a harbinger of death? Ornithologist Jon Wilder shares no such fears. But on a trip to Southern Arizona where he has come to study native birds, he suddenly confronts another evil that is just as sinister... and deadly.
As his visit is about to end, the bodies of six Mexican immigrants are discovered in the desert in temperatures well over a hundred degrees. They include the sister of Jon's close friend, Emilio Flores, as well as her husband and young children. Abandoned without water or shelter, they were left to die by smugglers whose leader is a notorious figure known only as The Hawk.
Offering to help his friend, Jon is quickly drawn into an investigation that the Border Patrol has already begun. Guiding it is savvy, female Border Patrol agent, Max Montoya, who has her own reasons for uncovering The Hawk's identity. Aided by a blind priest, Jon soon collects a growing list of suspects. Among them, is an eccentric billionaire with a passion for environmental causes, a charismatic Mexican-American labor leader, a shadowy banker, and a local realtor whose hearty laughter hides forbidden secrets.
As Jon's pursuit of The Hawk takes him deep into Mexico itself, the deceptions and the dangers that he faces multiply, in a story filled with colorful locales and indelibly drawn characters, and one that races to anunexpected and nerve shattering climax.

Author Notes

Ray Sipherd is a novelist, film writer, three-time Emmy Award winner for his television writing, and the creator of WNET's All Things Considered . His previous novels include The Christmas Store and The Courtship of Peggy McCoy , as well as the two previous books in the Jonathan Wilder series, Dance of the Scarecrows and The Audobon Quartet . He lives in Newtown, Connecticut.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ornithologist and painter Jon Wilder is in Tucson visiting his friend, importer Emilio Flores, when Flores' sister and five relatives are found dead in the desert, apparently abandoned in the process of being smuggled over the border from Mexico. With U.S. Border Patrol officer Max Montoya as an ally, Wilder attempts to track the smugglers. One contact, environmentalist Eric Voss, is murdered, and Montoya is shot, but Wilder continues the chase into Mexico. Readers will have to overlook the author's tendency to rely on coincidence to get him out of some awkward plot holes, but the novel makes good use of the southwestern setting and will draw crime fans interested in the New West, particularly Hillerman devotees. Sipherd is a three-time Emmy winner for television writing and the creator of NPR's All Things Considered. Gary Niebuhr.

Publisher's Weekly Review

The multitalented Ray Sipherd (the creator of WNETs All Things Considered, hes won three Emmys for TV writing) serves up his third Jonathan Wilder mystery, in which the handsome birder, whos doing fieldwork in Arizona, uncovers a tale of ornithological superstition and human smuggling in The Devils Hawk. Mexicans believe the titular bird is a harbinger of death, but a different Hawk"the leader of a ruthless gang of smugglers who leave their illegal immigrant charges in the desert to die"is much more dangerous; Jon, aided by pretty border patrol agent Max Montoya, decides to smuggle himself over the border to trap the mysterious El HalcUn. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Bird artist Jonathan Wilder (Dance of the Scarecrows), normally at home in Connecticut, becomes involved in another murder investigation while visiting Santa Rita, AZ. There, several Mexican relatives of a good friend die in the desert after being deserted by greedy immigrant smugglers. While investigating, Wilder stirs up antagonism: a mutilated jackrabbit is left on his doorstep, an eco-obsessed billionaire is murdered, a famous immigrants' rights activist warns Wilder away, and someone takes pot shots at Wilder. Plenty of action, scenic desert settings, and a few eccentric characters recommend this to most collections, especially where Southwestern mysteries are popular. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.