Claire Reynier is thrilled when her old friend Burke Lovell donates his collection of valuable books to the university where she works as a librarian. But the morning after she arrives at his ranch, Burke is found dead. His daughter Mariah - recently discovered - admits to helping the ailing man commit suicide. Mariah has also been named his principal heir, much to the shock of his other children. Upon Claire’s return to work, a box of valuable titles from Burke’s collection is stolen, and Claire realizes that the theft may hold clues to a much more sinister mystery....
"Fun Librarian book"
She may be a divorce lawyer, but Neil Hamel uses her PI’s instincts when a millionaire’s rare indigo macaw and newly endangered wife are kidnapped together. The unusual search puts her right in the heart of New Mexico’s breathtaking Plains of San Agustin, for a dangerous game of bird smuggling and one-upmanship. Armed with high-tech surveillance equipment and a backpack full of her client’s money, Neil treks to a remote exchange point.
How could you forget whether or not you murdered somebody? That’s exactly what Albuquerque lawyer-cum-sleuth Neil Hamel asks herself when she takes on the defense of an elderly client who can’t remember whether she ran over the girl her car surely did kill. Early in the morning of November first, Neil and her boyfriend, the Kid, are shaken out of their post-coital bliss when they find a surprise visitor at Neil’s apartment door. The visitor is Martha Conover, a pinched, elegant older woman who looks askance at Neil’s “just-had-sex aura” but still pleads for her help. Martha’s been accused of running over Justine Virga, the girl who accidentally killed her grandson.
Jonathan Vail’s novel made him famous. His disappearance made him a legend. Thirty-five years ago, the young writer embarked on a camping trip in Utah’s Slickrock Canyon, never to be seen again. His journal vanished with him. Now, archivist Claire Reynier, preserver of Vail’s legacy, finds herself drawn into literature’s most elusive mystery. But separating fact from fiction proves to be a dangerous proposition. The search for the missing diary has led Claire to a case of cold-blooded murder committed in the shadow of Vail family secrets....
On one side of the border stands a murder; on the other, a killer. In between stands Neil Hamel, a woman with a passion for the truth. “Don’t worry, Chiquita” was the Kid’s answer to almost everything, and right now Neil Hamel missed the Kid - her part-time lover and car mechanic. Neil had gone to Mexico as a favor to a man she shouldn’t be doing favors for, and what it got her was a face-to-face meeting with a corpse, a Mexican lawyer with a diamond pinky ring and a throat slit from ear to ear.
Archivist Claire Reynier may have a priceless find on her hands. A woman named Isabel Santos has discovered a faded document hidden for hundreds of years under the floor of her family's adobe house. It could be the controversial last words of a Jewish mystic condemned to death by the Inquisition in Mexico City. But before Claire can establish the document’s authenticity, it disappears, and tragedy visits the Santos family.
"Librarians, Jews and others"
When Claire Reynier becomes the victim of credit card fraud, she’s stunned to discover that Evelyn Martin, an old college friend and sorority sister, is the culprit. She’s even more shocked when Evelyn turns up dead. According to the police, Evelyn also swindled three other former classmates, but Claire is the only one without an alibi for the time of Evelyn’s murder. Now, dodging danger at every turn, Claire must sift through past grudges and long-buried resentments to uncover the truth - and clear her name....
On Colorado’s Thunder Mountain a sudden cold front whips a small, containable fire into a raging inferno, killing nine heroic firefighters. The Forest Service blames the dead; a victim’s grieving mother charges the government with negligence. Into this flammable mix enters Albuquerque lawyer Neil Hamel. Mounting an investigation of her own, Neil hikes the charred remains of the forest where the Hotshots met their end. But after retracing the steps of their flight, she will face the terror of their last gasps of breath - because someone is playing with fire.
A steady law practice, a stash of tequila, a lover she calls the Kid - only a debt of the heart to her dear, dead aunt Joan could compel Neil Hamel to leave Albuquerque for Montana in search of a bird. No ordinary winged creature, the Arctic falcon is a near-mythic figure, a cool killer who likes the meat around the heart. In pursuit of this elusive species, Neil witnesses a sight even more awesome - a body plunging off a cliff. Soon she is swept into a murder case that brings together militant environmentalists and high-stakes poachers, federal investigators, and even an Arabian prince.
When a young woman is found dead in the basement of the university library - with an illustration from a valuable book beside her - Claire recognizes the victim as someone she had met, but whose name she never knew. To learn more, Claire must descend into the haunting world of the homeless in Albuquerque, where the dead woman was known simply as Maia. It is a name with special meaning, the same as that of a mythical Greek woman who fled to the sky to escape her attacker. The illustration leads Claire to a secretive commune in Taos where Maia grew up - and may have suffered terrible abuse.
"Classy and entertaining"
It’s a 104-degree day in Albuquerque when attorney/sleuth Neil Hamel gets a call asking her to go to southern New Mexico to help a wolf advocate who calls himself Juan Sololobo. Juan, who attracts trouble wherever he goes, is visiting the town of Soledad to give an educational program featuring his timber wolf, Sirius. After someone lets Sirius out of his pen, a federal official is murdered and Juan becomes the prime suspect. As Neil defends him she finds herself immersed in a deadly conflict between ranchers and environmentalists over wolf reintroduction.
As Neil settles into her new house in Albuquerque’s North Valley, she befriends 13-year-old Cheyanne Morales, who lives in a nearby trailer with her mother and her younger half-brother. Cheyanne’s teenage angst is complicated by the pressures that gang culture imposes on her and her peers. Neil gets a harrowing glimpse of these pressures when a 15-year-old is shot to death not far from Neil’s new home. The cops suspect a rival gang member, but late one night, a battered Cheyanne shows up at Neil’s front door to confess that she was the shooter.
The “annual” Saint Patrick’s Day party hosted by Tim and Jamie Malone in their small northern New Mexico community is their first in many years. But it also marks their last as they prepare to move to the Midwest. For Albuquerque attorney Neil Hamel, going to the party is a reunion of sorts with various old friends she spent a year carousing with in a small town in Mexico in the late 1960s. Just about everyone seems to have made some move from hippie to mainstream except Lonnie Darmer, who - as in the old days - gets too drunk to drive home.