When a county employee is found shot to death in sun-drenched daylight while sitting in his county road grader, Undersheriff Bill Gastner is faced with puzzling questions. The simplest explanation - that an errant bullet from a careless target shooter's rifle blew out Larry Zipoli's brains - is soon discarded as inconsistencies surface. The fatal bullet shows no rifling marks, an investigation reveals that the shooter walked directly toward the road grader, in full view of the victim - who did nothing to defend himself.
In addition to the demands of the investigation, Gastner learns that Sheriff Eduardo Salcido has hired a new deputy without discussing the matter with his undersheriff. And Gastner learns that the new hire is destined to be the first female road-patrol deputy in the history of Posadas County. Thus begins Gastner's relationship with Estelle Reyes, whose shrewd observations shed important light on a crime that rattles all kinds of skeletons lurking in Posadas County closets.
©2012 Steven F. Havill (P)2012 Books In Motion
Truth is, I'd read most of them before I realized they were now available as audiobooks. Didn't stop me at all -- listening would just allow me to enjoy the stories again, in a different format. The characters didn't sound quite like I'd expected them to -- I didn't expect that Sheriff Salcido would sound quite as ethnic as he does. But after a couple of hours, it was fine. That WAS the way the Sheriff talked!
The fun thing about them is that they start so slow... just an average working day, some little thing takes place, but you never have any clue that it's going to get as complicated - and interesting -- as it does. It's just a delight to watch the story unfold, something else happens, which makes something else happen. Before you know it, you've got as much white-knuckle activity as any book in the world -- but its all real people, the kind of people you know and interact with every day. In terms of building believable characters, no one beats Steven Havill.
One Perfect Shot is a good book to start with, because you get to meet Estelle Reyes, who comes to star in the series a few books down the line. She has to be one of the most interesting of police procedural characters in any contemporary fiction. She's intense, powerful, but in her own way. There's no bravado for her -- just sheer intelligence and quiet determination. You'd think that a lot would be made out of the fact that Reyes is a female cop in a very traditional male-dominated culture in rural New Mexico, but there isn't. Which is as it should be -- for all of her attractiveness and quiet grace, it would never occur to Reyes that she should have any advantage -- or any disadvantage, either -- because she's a woman. She just does what she does, and does it very well. An admirable character.
Oh -- and one other thing: you'll soon learn to develop a taste for smothered green chili burritos. I actually have never had one -- not available in Israel, where I live. I'd never heard of such a thing until I started reading these books. But I looked it up, saw pictures, read about them, and now, every time Bill Gastner sits down to eat one -- breakfast or any other time -- I start to drool. That must be a really fine thing to eat! Some day....
Over the road truck driver and an avid fan of audiobooks.
I've enjoyed the whole Posadas County series and this particular book is a prequel to the series and helped fill in a few of the blanks.
It helped fill in the blanks about how Bill Gaster & Estele Rayes came together to solve crime in Posadas County.
All of them. As an audiobooks "reader", I've always enjoyed when one narrator performs the entire series of books. For example ... Judy Kaye as Sue Grafton's "Kinsey Milhone", Dick Hill as Lee Childs' "Jack Reacher" and Rusty Nelson as Steven F. Havill's "Bill Gaster".
No, it was a little too long to listen to in one sitting, however, I did listen to it in one day.
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